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Waithe takes the lead

...he wants visually impaired to get better access to education
Published: 
Sunday, June 19, 2016
Against the Odds
Anil Waithe demonstrates the brailer to Otto Carrington.

Visually impaired Anil Waithe wants to leave an indelible mark in T&T and the wider world by empowering people like himself to be able to access an education.

Waithe, 30, has known success most of his life, coming into the eyes of the public at the tender age of ten, when he was a student at the Tacarigua Presbyterian Primary School and then moving on to Hillview College.

But that was not the end for Waithe, he went on to the University of the West Indies and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology and is now completing his master’s degree.

“There is nothing that I limit myself that I can’t do,” Waithe said, “However, my achievement...it was not easy being visually impaired. It’s not at all a walk in the park.”

He said he was happy with his success however, he is concerned about others like him who may want to follow in his path and access an education. In secondary school, Waithe had little support but he was so motivated to learn, he ended up advocating for himself 100 per cent. 

In order to survive within the regular classroom environment, where most teachers seemed to have no time or interest in finding ways to support him, Waithe said on his own initiative he took a tape recorder to classes.

Speaking with Waithe at his Tunapuna, home, the computer whiz, jovial and full of jokes, made light of the difficulties accessing the basic necessities in T&T.

Waithe added: “I must boast that I was responsible for offering the first Windows 8 course in 2013 to visually impaired and blind individuals in the Caribbean through the use of voice over IP and virtualisation technology. In addition, I also configured an accessible Windows 7 installation and a Client for Use on Facebook.

“I was also instrumental in creating an Internet radio station just for persons who are visually impaired but at this moment, it’s off air but should be back on very soon.” Motivated and determined, Waithe has come up with another solution. He wants to purchase a Premier 100 Braille Embosser, which comes with Tiger Suite software from View Plus Technologies based in the US. 

This is a sturdy embosser which will not only produce excellent quality braille in high volume but it also produces the highest quality tactile graphics available. Having this embosser will provide Waithe with much needed access to curriculum materials which his sighted university peers have the luxury of accessing very easily.

“Although there are similar embossers in T&T, it does not suit the needs of the visually impaired. This machine can create diagrams for examinations. Also, this can open so many doors to make the visually impaired empowered,” Waithe added.

Waithe said his decision to get the machine was based on the many challenges he has faced trying to get an education. He wants to empower other visually-impaired people to be able to access an education without facing the uphill battle that he encountered.

So far, Waithe has set up an account on the Go Fund Me website and the name of the account is Braille Embosser Quest. Waithe has raised TT$5,000 dollars towards the embosser. The embosser costs US$13,000. 

“I am asking T&T to support my cause as I believe this will change the landscape of education for the visually impaired and also printed braille material in all spheres,” Waithe added.

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