Visually-impaired home marks another step towards barrier-free access
A view of the specially designed house for the visually impaired family in Karur. | Photo credit: M. SRINATH
In a unique initiative to minimize the challenges of visually impaired people, the Karur district administration has designed and built a model house at Pasupathipalayam on the outskirts of the city.
After receiving a petition from a visually impaired couple (who have no vision) – P. Kamaraj, 53, and John Roslin Mary, 31 – which highlighted their inability to pay the rent for their house in Vengamedu, the collector T. Prabhushankar had issued an order awarding a free site to Pasupathipalayam a few months ago. He also asked officials from the District Rural Development Agency to build a visually impaired house in an area of 310 square feet under the government’s housing scheme. Today, thanks to the expertise of architects and civil engineers, the district administration has designed a model house for the couple.
Many types of tactile tiles have been laid on the floors and walls of the house, which was built at a cost of ₹6 lakh and includes a hall, attached toilet, bedroom and kitchen, in addition to a living space. dining room and a veranda. . The entrance to the house has a ramp with a handrail, designed to help blind residents enter easily. Tactile tiles on the non-slip floor will allow them to easily access the rooms of the house.
Similarly, ceramic coded tiles were placed five feet up the walls to help them navigate by sensing the tiles using their hands. A provision to detect sunlight during the day is also available. The house was named ‘Vidiyal Veedu’.
The house has received a steady stream of visitors since the couple and their daughter Uma Maheswari moved in. Officials from other districts also visit.
Mrs. Mary, who sells ‘agarbathis’ with her husband, says their new home has made their lives easier. “It’s a perfect house to navigate without anyone’s help. This is a dream come true for us,” she added.
“We are excited to design a model home for the blind. We have demonstrated that a few modifications can have a huge impact on the well-being of totally blind and visually impaired people,” Prabhushankar said. He added that he had received inquiries from officials in a few other states about the house. It would be digitally documented so the process could be shared with others.