After successful screenings of audio-described movies in Ahmedabad, Jamnagar and Surat, Essar Foundation, under the aegis of Essar Steel Pune Facility (ESPF) organized a screening for 125 visually impaired children from the Poona School and Home for Blind Trust. 50 people with sight also joined this first-of-its-kind screening in Maharashtra, experiencing the film blindfolded to understand and appreciate what it is to not be able to see and yet enjoy a movie. The children remained glued to the movie throughout.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mitesh Shah, CEO, ESPF said, "Essar is pleased with the wonderful response of the children from the Poona School and Home for Blind Trust. As the nation walks the path of development, it is important that all the sections of the society derive the gains of development. We plan to organize many such film screenings in Pune in the future."
Audio-description technology includes a voice-over upon a full-length feature film. It describes silent actions, body language, facial expressions, costume or scenery and fills the gaps where the visually impaired might have difficulty in relating to the story. This allows a visually impaired person, whether partially or completely visionless, to enjoy a film without being dependent on a person with sight.
India is home to the highest proportion of visually impaired and low-vision persons in the world. It is estimated that there are about 14 million visually impaired and 28 million low-vision people in India. Acknowledging the need to provide access to them with customized programs, Essar Foundation conceptualized and launched Unmukt, a nationwide campaign to screen audio-described movies for visually impaired. Unmukt broadly means 'freedom', translating more into 'independence' in the context of human life and works towards outreach and strategic inclusion of differently-abled citizens.