Dear Wikimedians

I would like share an unusual story (unusual - especially for Indic language
wiki communities) that Malayalam wiki community had faced few months back.

In the month of February 2011, I had received an SOS call from a school
teacher (Satyasheelan) who is teaching at the Government School for the
Blind in the Kasargod
of Kerala. Satyasheelan was seeking Malayalam wikipedian's support to fix
few issues that he and his students faced with few Malayalam alphabets when
they  read Malayalam wikipedia using a speech synthesizing software called
eSpeak <>. His phone call was surprise to us
since Malayalam wikimedians were not aware that visually challenged people
are using Malayalam wikipedia. (We were aware about the existence of a
software by Santhosh (named Dhawni <>) to read
unicode Malayalam (and other Indic languages also) which is in its early
stages of development). So Satyasheelan's call was surprising.

After his phone call few Malayalam wikipedians (Junaid, Thachan Makan, and
I) contacted Jonathan Duddington <>, the
primary developer (?) of eSpeak, and we worked with him to fix the issues
for Malayalam that Satyasheelan had pointed out. Jonathan  fixed the issues
pretty fast and later Satyasheelan informed us that now they are able to use
Malayalam wikipedia without any issues.

Later while we were planning for the 4th Malayalam wiki
July 11) at Kannur, we decided to invite Satyasheelan to conduct a
session, since Malayalam wikimedians liked to hear the experience of
students of Blind school (using Malayalam wikipedia). But when Satyasheelan
came for the meetup we were surprised and taken aback when we learnt that
Satyasheelan is also a visually challenged person. Few of the his colleagues
(who are also visually challenged) also attended the meetup. Satyasheelan
was accompanied by his son, Nalin.

The meetup was attended by more than 80 Malayalam wikipedians. Few photos
are available 
We are happy that Bishaka, Hisham, and Tory were kind enough to join us for
this meetup. There were various programs conducted as part of this meetup
(the report of the meetup is available at various locations (in Malayalam)).
Definitely the highlight of the meetup was the demonstration by
Satyasheelaman. So this mail is about that.

Malayalam wikimedian Ajay Kuyiloor took extra efforts to record
Satyasheelan's session. We are sharing an edited version of this session
assuming that this information will help other Indic language wiki

The video of Satyasheelan's session is available here: ** The duration of the video is
around 9 minutes. We specially thank Ajay Kuyiloor, Girish Mohan, and Jithin
who worked on this video. We admit the low quality of video since we were
not prepared for such a session. Inconvenience due to this is deeply

Malayalam community is welcoming your comments regarding this story so that
the discussion regarding this will benefit rest of the Indic wiki
communities also. We are actually humbled by the fact that work we do in
wikipedia is reaching out to people from all wakes of life.

*NOTE:* Satyasheelan specially thanked Malayalam wikimedians for creating a
special navigational
reaching out easily to wikipedia articles. I still remember in 2008
Malayalam wikipedia user:Sadhik Khalid
this template, some of us had doubted the need of such a template. Our doubt
was, why such a template is required when users can reach out to articles
easily using serach box. Now to our surprise we understood this template is
very much useful for the visually challenged people (whom we never thought
about before).

Video of Satyasheelan's  session is available here:**


Shiju Alex
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