About Braille Script

Is it possible for a visually impaired or physically challenged person become an IAS? Crack an IAS exam? These questions are being answered by Mr. Akella Raghavendra with self-confidence. He is an educationist with over and above 20 years of experience in the field of competitive examinations. With his vast experience, he has started a project of creating special study material for visually impaired and physically challenged people. The material is prepared in Braille for the visually impaired persons and audio books for both visual and physically challenged people. With these special educational aids and material, any handicapped person can easily achieve their aim of getting a government job i.e. from lower level clerical jobs to IAS. An insight with Mr. Akella Raghavendra and his foundation activities

What is the aim of your project?

Putting it simply, we want blind and physically challenged persons to achieve any government job. To make this possible, we are providing free material to such people through this project. Any normal person can prepare for clerical to IAS exams, but for the specially disabled people, it is a big challenge. The people without walking abilities cannot attend coaching/classes, the same way people with visual imparities cannot prepare for exams. Someone has to read the entire portion for them, which is practically not possible. This is the reason we bought all the competitive exams material in Braille and audio format. This makes the life of the specially disabled people’s life easy and they can prepare for the exams at the comfort of their home.

Does the physically challenged person have opportunities to get government jobs?

This is just a misunderstanding that a physically challenged person cannot get a government job because of their disabilities. In fact, the physically challenged people are stronger when compared to normal people and they are eligible for all the government jobs except few like police department. There are thousands of visually impaired and physically challenged people already preparing for railways and banking competitive exams. There is a huge percentage of these people preparing for higher jobs like IAS, IRS, etc and increasing as we talk. Ira singhal, who achieved 1st rank at All India level in 2015, is a specially disabled person.

How is the percentage of people preparing for government jobs?

In India, there are more than 2 crores of people who are specially disabled out of which 10% are graduates. If we consider Telangana and Andhra Pradesh together there are around 1 lakh blind and 70,000 other specially disabled graduates. That means, all these people are eligible for government jobs. But the major problem they face is non-availability of study material. The physically challenged students can’t reach the coaching center without the help of others. If we think there is such help also, how many days/months they can reach? A blind student cannot read at all. Then who will understand their problems, though they have eligibility to get a government job like any other, they are dependent on others because of their disabilities. That is the sole reason we want to give them material in Braille and audio format absolutely for free.

How are you planning to make this material available for these lakhs of specially disabled students?

Technically it is very difficult to take this material to all these students. But using the technology we could overcome this problem quite easily. All the audio files are uploaded to YouTube and these files are available in www.online-ias.com website. The physically challenged or visually impaired students can access and listen to all the material with the password provided by us. Already there are 3000 audios and 2000 pages material available in the site. The students can clarify doubts with the concerned faculty periodically through video conference.

What is the specialization of your project?

Generally, it takes a long time to bring all the books related to competitive exams into audio and Braille format. But competitive exams have some common subjects like economics, geography, history etc. Again all these exams have 25-30 reference books. What we did is a thorough research of all these reference books, prepared notes and then converted into audio files. This leads to saving of time for the students yet achieve better results. We follow a timetable and upload 5 audio files daily in www.online-ias.com. Then weekly exams are conducted on these lessons. This means a constant check is on the student’s progress in learning.

Are the audio files in English or Telugu?

The project is planned to be completed in three phases. The first phase is entirely in English medium, which is helpful for all the students at all India level. In the second phase the entire material will be available in Telugu medium. The first phase is already completed and Telangana, Andhra Pradesh History is in audio format. Bringing Physics, Mathematics and other subjects to audio format are in the third phase.

What is the inspiration for you to start this project?

I’m giving training to students preparing for IAS, Group I, II, DSC, junior lecturers and other competitive exams from past 20 years. From past 5 years, the percentage of physically challenged graduates applying for competitive exams is increased. An IAS aspirant Vasundara from Nalgonda who cannot walk wanted to achieve IAS has requested me to help her to study from her home. Other IAS aspirants like Shivaprasad from Ananthapur, Sagar a blind student from Hyderabad has moved me and I wanted to do something for them. These people are an inspiration and the reason I wanted to bring audio material.

Who helped you in this project?

The members of Akella Raghavendra Foundation have put in so many efforts. Mr. M.L.N Rao, Officer in LIC has first encouraged us for this project. KCP Foundation has been a support. Last but not least my friend Mrs Sudha from America has supported a lot for this project.

Although I cannot move and I have to speak through a computer, in my mind I am free – Stephen Hawking

There is no limit to what the human mind can accomplish. And we believe any physical disability in an individual is actually an enrichment that can help the individual’s mind simply shine. It is a fact that the mind of a physically or visually challenged person works much faster and more efficiently enabling him or her to make quicker and relatively more appropriate choices in any contextual necessity. However it is imperative that the challenged individual is provided the necessary aid to allow him explore a given opportunity.

We at Akella Raghavendra Foundation believe that it is our responsibility to enable such challenged individuals obtain every possible aid to allow them discover their true potential and demonstrate their actual abilities and thus make their own contributions to social progress.

This concept is promoted by Shri Akella Raghevendra, a renowned Motivational Speaker, an accomplished IAS Trainer, decorated Author, Writer and more. The concept has its roots in his deep understanding of social problems within our country. Whether it is improving the quality of education in our rural sector, or creating opportunities for socially and economically backward communities, or supporting the physically challenged, Akella aims to reach into every nook and corner of our country and bring his service closest to those in dire need.

Enrich Education has been in the field of school and secondary education for a great many years and has poured forth thousands of successful students over a significant period of time. Understanding the underlying problems of child education at various levels Enrich has consistently endeavored to bring out the best in children’s education.

Akella Raghavendra Foundation and Enrich have together endeavored to support these enriched individuals we have embarked on twin projects under the nomenclatures-visually Enriched Project and Physically Enriched Project.

In support of visually challenged individuals the government has made adequate provisions for enabling them appear at state or national level competitive examinations creating several avenues for their absorption into main stream society. However there are three primary constraints for these individuals in exploiting the said opportunities: 1. They cannot read the material 2. They may not get someone to help them read, and 3. They may not get scribes to help them write their tests.

Our Endeavor –

Identifying this serious constraint, we have embarked on creating solutions to problems of the visually and physically impaired and to enable them appear for any examination just as any normal individual, thereby helping them compete for a given position and improving their chances of success.

Pooling Volunteers -

As part of our enterprise, we pool high school and college students, employed professionals, businessmen, educated housewives and interested government officials and enrol them as scribes. These volunteer scribes are carefully chosen based on their English language skills and are requisitioned during examination times for helping the visually challenged examinee. Our scribes also help physically challenged test takers who may have lost upper limb function debilitating them from active use of their hands.

Preparation of Material –

Shri Akella Raghavendra with his experience of two decades in training hundreds of IAS aspirants, is thoroughly acquainted with a wide range of subjects at the Indian Civil Services Examinations and other important national and state level examinations at Group I, II and III levels. His understanding of the intricate nuances of these exams has seen great success with over 350 IAS officials having undergone training under him for their preparation Raghavendra has personally been preparing the study material for visually and physically challenged students so that they are at their preparatory best when appearing for these tests.

Conversion of Study Material to Braille –

Since a majority of educated visually impaired individuals can read through Braille, we have taken up the responsibility of converting about Two Thousand pages of study material into Braille. This will be an immense help to these affected individuals to easily prepare for any competitive examination.

Conversion of Study Material to Audio Books –

In the event of visually constrained individuals being unable to read the Braille alphabet, our Audio Books will help them prepare for the competitive tests. The process is already underway and a major part of the material has already been converted into audio.

App for Scribes –

An independent App is being currently developed by us on iOS and Android mobile platforms, through which a registered volunteer scribe can be approached for help at any examination. Also the volunteer scribes will themselves be notified for any such requirement.

Uploaded Study Material –

On our website www.online-ias.com we have uploaded over 15,000 pages of study material that covers a comprehensive array of academics suitable for a repertoire of competitive national and state level tests.

The study material is well organised into different streams, related Subjects, Key Topics and Sub topics, followed by Lesson Plans, Study Schedules and Time Tables to simplify preparation. The information also contains test papers, answer keys and helpful tasks for various tests. This comprehensive treasure house of knowledge has been one of the principal reasons for the success of thousands of students who are now happily employed both in the government sector and at the corporate sector.

In preparation of tests, in addition to general candidates, physically challenged applicants who may have suffered loss of limb function, will find it immensely helpful to prepare for any important exam and come out with a higher degree of success.

We invite philanthropists, corporate houses and individuals to be part of our endeavour and play a meaningful role in building a progressive society.

Requesting Your Help -

In this regard, we request you to please help us to provide more audio files and braille scripts for the needy. We know your rules and regulations and the limitations you have. But within the limits, if you can extend your support in the financial terms, that would be a great help for this project. If you nod , we will come and explain you the project in detail to give a clarity for the financials. Or else, we can send the financial –request report to you.

Measurable outcome for you –

for the monitory support you extend, we are glad to announce your organization logo on each and every literature we give. And we give credits to you always in all the phases of the project. We can discuss the additional advantages you seek across the table.

After completing his graduation in 1994, he first attempted to crack the UPSC. One attempt turned to two, and two turned to four attempts. To no avail.

He was born in a middle-class family to Subrahmanyasarma, a small-time businessman and Suryakumari Lalitha, a homemaker, in June 1974.
Growing up in Rajahmundry (officially known as Rajamahendravaram) in the East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh, Akella Raghavendra harboured one dream. To crack the coveted civil service exams.

After completing his graduation in 1994, he first attempted to crack the UPSC. One attempt turned to two, and two turned to four attempts. To no avail.


While he was able to get through the interview, he couldn’t get through the Indian Administrative Services due to a marginal gap of 12 marks. While one would assume that the repeated instances of failure after the many years of hard work would throw him off, Raghavendra refused to be deterred by the situation.
Today, Raghavendra is an educationist with over 20 years of experience, has worked as a journalist/columnist for leading publications like Eenadu, ETV, Andhrajyothi, been a film scriptwriter and has travelled across rural schools and colleges as a motivational speaker.
But one of the most important sectors that man behind the Akella Raghavendra Foundation has been working on is IAS coaching. Having exhausted his attempts at cracking the exam, he decided to put his knowledge into practice by establishing his own coaching centre in Dilsukhnagar in 2003.
Till date, over 500 of his students have successfully cracked the exam to work in various government services, like IAS, IPS, Group 1 and 2 ranks and other cadres.
Much like Bihar’s Anand Kumar, Raghavendra only takes up a single batch of 30-40 students and believes in giving them personal attention, mentorship and guidance. Many of these are students from underprivileged homes, and some of them are visually or physically challenged. Most of them come from Telugu and vernacular-medium schools after being shunned by mainstream coaching centres, says Raghavendra.
While Raghavendra coaches visually-impaired and physically-challenged persons free of cost, those coming from financially unstable families are given coaching at a subsidised fee.
“While any coaching centre charges a student Rs 1.5 lakh per annum on an average, we charge them Rs 30,000. The idea is to not dump study material on them but to critically analyse their day-to-day progress, tell them about their strengths and weaknesses and improve in those aspects to help them clear the competitive UPSC exam. I tell my students, ‘concentrate more on studying than the results. The means you resort to, are more important than the destination. If your means are right, you will reach your destination successfully.’”
He follows the E-Gurukulam methods of teaching where ‘e’ stands for electronic and ‘gurukulam’ is the ancient form of guru-shishya teaching. Under this, apart from offline classes, the students are given online training. He connects to each of them on WhatsApp. Daily timetables are set, reading materials are provided.
“The students have to diligently follow the instructions, complete their homework and send me the pictures of their work every day by 11:00 p.m., daily. My team members and I then work round-the-clock in the night to ensure these papers are graded by morning. Any student who is seen struggling, meets me for a one-on-one and we work together to tackle those issues,” he adds.
One of the latest projects of the IAS coach that has been gathering attention is his seven-year-long effort to come up with UPSC notes and study material free of cost for visually-impaired aspirants in the form of a Braille book. It is being lauded as India’s first-of-its-kind book for visually-impaired UPSC aspirants. In addition, he has also come up with free audiobooks which have been made available on his website online-ias.com.
When I ask him about the inspiration behind the project, he lays down the hard facts on the table.
He explains how India has over two crore differently-abled individuals out of which 10% are graduates. And if you were to consider the population of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh together, there are around 1 lakh visually-challenged and 70,000 other differently-abled graduates. Every one of them is eligible for a government job, but the biggest impediment in their way is the non-availability of study material in a format that they would find easy to absorb.
“To put it simply, we want blind and physically-challenged persons to achieve any government job they set their mind on. It is easy for an able-bodied individual to clear clerical or IAS exams, but many times it can be a huge challenge for the differently-abled. While mobility to attend classes on a daily basis is a challenge for some, many visually-impaired aspirants have to have someone read the entire portion for them, which is practically not possible. This is the reason we bought all the competitive exams material in Braille and audio format. This will make it easy for many to dedicatedly prepare for the exams in the comfort of their home,” adds Raghavendra.

This study material has been prepared using handpicked content from books he thought would be helpful for the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) and UPSC exams.

He adds how despite the availability of the number of books, he knew that they were not read by many. So his idea was to prepare a master file with just crisp and required information and make an audio version of it.

“For each of these students, we have a daily timetable where we upload three to four lessons a day, which they have to learn. We conduct weekly tests to monitor their progress and have video conferences to discuss their doubts,” he adds. So any student from across India can access the study material which currently consists of 3000 audios and 2000 pages in English with the password provided by his team.

“In the last five years, the percentage of physically challenged graduates applying for competitive exams is increased. Vasundhara, an IAS aspirant from Nalgonda who is physically disabled, requested me to help her to study from her home. Other visually-impaired IAS aspirants like Shivaprasad from Ananthapur, Sagar from Hyderabad moved me. They inspired me to help make study material accessible to other students like them,” he says.
Many of his differently-abled students are working in various government services. But Raghavendra adds how he is now motivating many to chase their IAS dream!

“We have three students preparing this year. We hope they make it,” he smiles.

In a final message to all UPSC aspirants, he says, “Be consistent in your preparations. Don’t leave your preparation midway till you reach your IAS dream. Stop not, till you reach the goal. For some it is a long, arduous journey, for others, it is a short war. No matter how many years it takes, keep persevering. You don’t necessarily have to be intelligent to crack these exams. Hard work and a smart strategy can help you make it through. Remember, if you take an elevator to reach your destination, there is a chance you may or may not reach your destination depending on technical glitches. But if you take the stairs, you definitely will. So believe in yourself. Your confidence makes a difference.”

If this story inspired you, get in touch with Akella Raghavendra at akellaraghavendra@yahoo.com or visit www.akellaraghavendra.com. If you are a UPSC aspirant, you can visit http://online-ias.com/

If you are a visually-impaired or differently-abled UPSC aspirant, get in touch with his team at 8897826108 to access the study material.

Almost blinded in an accident, this Telangana IAS coach has developed a UPSC coaching book in Braille and audio formats

This Telangana man came up with a collation, in Braille and audio format, of the gist and the salient points of all the 30 to 35 books available for the examination

Raghavendra has come up with comprehensive study material in Braille and audio format for UPSC preparation

When Akella Raghavendra met with an accident that almost made him lose his eyesight forever, he underwent a slice of the struggle a visually impaired person goes through. Sixteen years late, a successful civil services examination coach, Raghavendra has come up with comprehensive study material in Braille and audio format for UPSC preparation.

Even though he has been working on the idea since 2009, the work started only two years ago. “Once I reached a position where I had ample capital and the resources, I started training visually impaired students for the UPSC examination,” said Raghavendra. “The main project started in October 2016 with an aim to provide the entire study material for visually and physically impaired people in Braille and audio format.”

Teaching the visually-impaired: Raghavendra is not yet happy as he feels his initiative should reach more people

They completed transforming the material into these formats in February 2018. Raghavendra explains that his material is not like the audiobooks already available for civil service aspirants, “My study material is a collation of the gist and the salient points of all the 30 to 35 books available for the examination. Dumping all the material is not my motto,” he explained.

Even though 80 to 100 students have already availed the audio material and more are getting their hands on the Braille content, Raghavendra is not happy as he feels this should reach more people. “India has over two crore differently-abled individuals out of which 10% are graduates. If you were to consider the population of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh together, there are around 1 lakh visually-challenged and 70,000 other differently-abled graduates. Every one of them is eligible for a government job, but the biggest impediment in their way is the non-availability of study material in a format that they would find easy to understand.”

Over the past few years, the percentage of physically challenged graduates applying for competitive examinations has increased. Sagar and Sivaprakash are government officials, both visually impaired, are now preparing for the civil service examination and stay with me at Hyderabad
Akella Raghavendra

According to the coach, the government has made efforts to help visually challenged officials but should take more initiatives and print documents in Braille so that it’s easier for these officers to perform their duties. “These people are facing three problems, they do not have proper assistance to read out to them, mobility is another problem, so is getting a good scribe to write their examinations or daily office needs,” said the teacher who has coached more than 350 successful civil service aspirants.

The UPSC Civil services exam is conducted by Union Public Services Commission. This is considered as the most prestigious and difficult competitive examination. It allows all the Indian citizens can write this examination. Aspirants can check the eligibility criteria for UPSC IAS Examination.
Visually impaired candidates appearing for civil services preliminary examination will get 40 minutes extra time per paper. Here we are giving the tips for UPSC Preparation for the visually impaired student.

Time management

Time is the most valuable commodity that is irretrievable. Hence a UPSC aspirant cannot compromise when it comes to time. UPSC IAS Exam preparation is one-year prolonged procedure. Most of the time aspirants suffer from lack of concentration, lack of interest in the subject, etc. Time management is the key tool in UPSC IAS Exam preparation.
Visually impaired aspirants those who are preparing for UPSC IAS should know that they have e-sources and Braille materials which will assist them in their UPSC IAS Exam preparation journey. Aspirants should schedule a timetable for E-material and special time for Braille material in a day.

Self-motivation

The whole thing under the sun is possible, don’t let anyone stop you. NL Beno Zephine visually impaired IFS officer set an example as well as motivation to others to write this examination and succeed in the same. Even Pranjal Patil success also conveys that nothing is impossible whether you’re abled or differently abled.

Books

The NCERT books which are essential for UPSCIAS Exam is available in audio format also. Candidates should make use of it to crack UPSC IAS Exam. The book like M.Laxmikant and other reference books are also available in Braille format.

Software

Visually challenged aspirants have gained individuality with the help of Information and Communication Technologies. There is lots of software which is really helpful for candidates. They are JAWS, Kurzweil, Abby fine reader, and so on.
Job access with speech, “JAWS” is a screen reading software which helps the UPSC aspirants to read the text on a computer screen. It aids as to read and type the documents to reach the desired files and folders in computers, to surf the internet, and every computer related activities.

Abby fine reader and Kurzweil

This software’s helps the UPSC IAS aspirants as to read a book self-reliant. By using this software they scan the books and convert them into a word document format or to Mp3 format.

22 year Hina Rathi just cleared her preliminary exams for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Hina is 100% blind, but has ensured that her disability is never a hindrance in her path towards success!
Clearing the prelims of the UPSC exams can be a herculean task to many. Hina’s story is all about hard-work, determination and passion to chase her dreams.
Hina always aspired to be a civil servant. Her father owns a small tea stall at Palanpur in Gujarat. In spite of his financial constraints, he sent Hina to pursue her higher education at Ahmedabad. Hina points out that she owes this success to many people! It begins from her father’s friend from Ahmedabad who had supported her a lot.
Most of the times, lessons were read out loud to Hina by her friends. They read out newspapers and books so that Hina can get a better insight into her lessons. Rest of the times, she heard lessons from YouTube lectures.
Most of the study material had to be translated into Braille. A single page translation equalled to ten Braille pages. A well-wisher had paid Rs 45,000 towards her education making things better for Hina!
Hina says that she enjoys challenges that are thrown to her. This young girl is now gearing up to prepare for her upcoming main exams

Ajit Kumar Yadav who recently received an appointment letter for the IAS says that due to his prolonged illness he lost his eyesight. But even losing eyesight was never a bigger challenge for him. Ajit secured 208 rank among the 791 successful candidates in the civil services examination but even after this he was denied an IAS appointment due to his blindness. He was not dis-hearted due to this and filed a suit for his rights. He fought a three-year legal struggle to get his rightful place.
Due to acute diarrhoea Ajit lost his eyesight at the age of five. He completed his schooling from Springdale School in New Delhi. Ajit sharing his story says that in spite of being differently abled his confidence was always high and he never got stuck when faced with any difficulty. He always stood first in class.
In 1990’s Ajit had no access to computers and only a few of the technical aids were available to him. Although Braille books were available but the topics in that books were very limited.As soon as he completed his Master’s in Political Science from Ramjas College, Delhi University, Ajit began teaching at a government school in Haryana. Then he cleared UGC NET-JRF and joined Shyamlal College of Delhi University as Assistant Professor.
He shares that in his interview for assistant Professor, he was asked that how will he manage the students in a class. This question of management was answered by Ajit in the form of his work. His teaching style was so excellent that student were willing to come on Sundays too, for extra lectures. Once in 2005, he heard the Prime Minister saying that the doors of IAS should be opened for visually impaired citizens. It was at that instance, that he realised what he wanted to do with his life.
In his Civil marathon, Ajit made a very wise and creative use of various media and technology. He used to make his own notes in Braille. He also used to listen to recordings and even used to create his own recordings.He cleared the most desirous Civil service examination in the year 2008, thereafter he waited for a letter for introduction into the prestigious IAS. Besides that, he was offered a post in Indian Railway Personnel Service. He filed a case against this discrimination and fought bravely.

Over the years, the integration of visually-impaired individuals has increased in government services. However, they still have to encounter many difficulties, ranging from the lack of accessible infrastructure to the unavailability of materials in a suitable format. For instance, a visually-challenged aspirant preparing for UPSC can only avail 20% of the entire syllabus in Braille. Akella Raghavendra from Hyderabad observed their plight from close quarters when he started coaching visually-challenged UPSC aspirants in 2016.
“Suppose if there are 4 core books in Geography, an aspirant needs to study all 4 thoroughly to have a wholesome idea. Sadly, only 2 of them are available in Braille format. So if blind students wish to read the other 2, they have to depend on someone else to read the entire book to them,” explains Raghavendra, who has recently published the first-ever comprehensive study material for UPSC in Braille and Audiobook format, opening new doors for visually-challenged civil service aspirants across the country.

He was almost blinded by an accident

Akella Raghavendra met with a terrible accident which left him bed-ridden for over six months. After a series of surgeries, when he was on the way to recovery, a doctor revealed to him that by some miracle, his eyesight was saved narrowly. Startled with the truth, Raghavendra wondered what might have happened had he become blind. This prompted him to think about the hundreds of visually-challenged young people in India who were denied a bright future, owing to the lack of accessible facilities and infrastructure.
Once working as an editor and writer in his youth, Akella Raghavendra changed his career direction to start guiding civil service aspirants. He has produced more than 350 successful candidates who are now top-scale government officers, including over 40 IAS officers. Since 2010, Raghavendra has been training the visually-impaired and physically-challenged students for UPSC, Graduate-Level, Bank and other competitive exams. “My dream is to see my visually-challenged students become top-rank IAS officers,” he shares.

The problems faced by visually and physically-challenged aspirants

“Most of the aspirants are not aware that many visually and physically-challenged bureaucrats are there in the service,” he says.
Their problems can be enlisted as three-fold. First is the absence of a single source of study material in their preferred format. Normal aspirants prepare by compiling information from a lot of UPSC books available in the market. Most of these books are printed on paper. It is near impossible for a blind candidate to scan through a heap of paperbacks and study material and jot down notes. So far, not a single book has been written in Braille. The online lectures are either in audio-visual format or not authentic enough. Raghavendra’s comprehensive book, whose details have been explained below, makes the job much easier for them.

He has produced over 350 UPSC officers

Secondly, for physically-challenged candidates, it is not possible to regularly attend coaching centres, especially if hailing from remote areas. Disabled-friendly transport is still a utopia in most of India.
Lastly, finding a professional scribe to write the exams is a major challenge. UPSC is undoubtedly considered the toughest examination in India. Since most visually-impaired and physically challenged candidates cannot write their own exams, they are solely dependent on scribes. But it is hard to find qualified scribes who can accurately document the students’ answers.

The Braille and Audio-book project

During his trip to the USA in 2016, Raghavendra visited a number of special institutions there. “I was amazed to see they were offering so many facilities to the visually and physically-challenged students,” he shares, “That inspired me to implement something similar for Indian students immediately.”
Started in October 2016, Raghavendra registered the help of his students Sagar and Sivaprakash, both of whom are visually-impaired government officials, now preparing for civil services. Together, they thoroughly compiled around 30-35 must-read books for UPSC into audiobook format.
Soon he translated the book into Braille and prepared 10 master copies of the same. The project was completed around February 2018. It deserves an applaud that he has contributed over five lakhs from his own savings for this project.
“The strength of my book is that I have synthesised the crucial gist of the whole syllabus,” he explains that unlike the already existing audiobooks, his book does not dump a huge burden of information on the students. The book already offers a meticulously researched collection of salient points from all subjects.
“The final version of the book was published after incorporating step-by-step feedback from the two students and many of our volunteers. So the book can be considered fool-proof. I am a bit of a perfectionist you can say,” he shares with a hearty laugh.
So far he has distributed the copies among visually-challenged students and trainers in Hyderabad and wishes that more aspirants are benefited from the book.
The audiobooks are available absolutely free on his website: http://online-ias.com/ and can be accessed from anywhere in India by simple registration. “Now no student with any physical limitation needs to travel far for attending any reputed coaching centre,” he declares proudly. He has also prepared a time-oriented preparation routine, customised for these candidates.

The major roadblocks

“It was not an easy journey to execute this project,” narrates Raghavendra. “I have never considered money a problem. I never hesitate to spend my own savings in helping these youngsters. However, I received very little moral support and encouragement from the people.” he adds with a sigh.
So far Raghavendra has successfully converted over 1500 pages into audiobooks. However, his work is only half-done because another 1500 pages still remain to be recorded. His organisation is actively looking for women teachers with clear articulation and pronunciation to volunteer as voice-artists for the audiobook. If you are interested to be a part of his amazing campaign, you can reach out to Akella Raghavendra at akellaraghavendra@yahoo.com or 9849311109.

Akella Raghavendra Foundation

Primarily self-funded, the Akella Raghavendra foundation organises the Life Building Training Program in coordination with schools, colleges, communities and dedicated individuals to promote career guidance among students who do not have access to quality education.
Trained volunteers conduct skill and personality development campaigns for the unemployed rural youth from low-income families. They have successfully organised classes in English, socio-cultural, scientific and environmental awareness in over a hundred schools. Akella Foundation also provides educational support to orphaned and visually-challenged children, alongside reimbursing their guardians with money for clothes, books and other needs.
The founder himself travels to remote areas to deliver motivational lectures encouraging marginalised students with the hope of a decent career.

The Logical Indian take

A substantial percentage of civil service aspirants are visually or physically-challenged. Thousands of coaching institutes all over India provide every possible help to the regular candidates, but only Akella Raghavendra have pioneered the responsibility of these candidates. The Logical Indian community salutes his incredible initiative and hopes his book helps many aspirants.

Meet visually impaired Bala Nagendran who cleared the UPSC exam

At the age of seven he decided that he wanted to become an Indian Administrative Services officer, come what may.

For twenty-seven-year-old Bala Nagendran from Chennai, beating the odds is a way of life. At the age of seven he decided that he wanted to become an Indian Administrative Services officer, come what may.
Born 100 per cent visually impaired, Bala Nagendran has realized his childhood dream by not only cracking the UPSC exams but also securing the 923rd rank in the all-India level.
“I would never accept whenever someone refers to me being blind as a challenge. Personally, I consider it a powerful tool. It has made me realise the importance of having inner-vision. My visual impairment has helped me get to know people better,” explains Nagendran, to The News Minute.
The challenge, however, he says was the negligible amount of Braille books available for the UPSC aspirants in the market. “I had to personally get the books converted to the Braille form. It not only took much of my time, but was also quite expensive. I had to spend almost six times the cost of the regular books available in the market,” he says, adding that being technologically versatile helped him a lot in the preparation. Not only would he use Google for preparation, he also depended on the ebooks which made his preparation process easier.
After the previous four failed attempts in clearing the examination, Nagendran says that he “had the confidence but lacked competence.” He pushed himself over the last one year and did not let the tag of being an “underdog” hamper his confidence.
Armed with a Bachelors of Commerce degree from Loyala College in Chennai, Nagendran is also an alumnus of the Ramakrishna Mission School in T.Nagar. Education, he says, is the most important aspect of one’s life. “To eradicate poverty, unemployment, and all the other social plagues, quality education is the only solution. I would definitely want to work in this department and bring inclusiveness in education,” Nagendran declares.
He draws inspiration from former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K.Kamaraj and IAS officer Armstrong Pame who is popular for building the 100-kilometer road, connecting Manipur to Nagaland with absolutely no financial or physical aid from the Government of India.
While Nagendran’s father who is a retired soldier, now drives a taxi to support the family, his mother is a home maker. “Believe in yourself. One’s financial background, family background, social status and everything else won’t matter when one is determined about what he truly wants to achieve in life,” he concludes.

Professor-turned-IAS aspirant Ajit Kumar fought a 3-year battle to claim his rightful place in the Civil Services. This is his story.

“My prolonged illness took away my eyesight forever. But it was not my biggest challenge,” shares Ajit Kumar Yadav, who recently received appointment letter for the Indian Administrative Services (IAS).
Even after securing a rank of 208 among 791 successful candidates in the Civil Services examination, Ajit was denied an IAS appointment due to his blindness.
But he was not deterred by this. He fought a three-year legal struggle to get his rightful place.