Benetech Promotes Bookshare at IES Mulund School as a Bridge Tool for Digital Literacy

By Shareef Phillips, posted on
Social Graphic Image: Text: Benetech Promotes Bookshare AT IES MULUND School as Bridge Tool for Digital Literacy. Image 1: Children in a classroom in India with orange uniforms as instructor speaks. Image 2: Rujul and Principal of IES Mulund pose for a photo in classroom near desk. Image 3: A classroom full of students, a teacher assists Rujul with laptop device. Image 4: Benetech logo.

As part of our efforts to further the impact of digital literacy on the international stage, Benetech met with the Indian Education Society (IES) Mulund, a high-school, located in Mumbai, India. As part of this interview, Rujul, an IES Mulund student using Bookshare, along with her parents, teacher, and former principal, share the importance of digital literacy and the impact Bookshare has had on their community.

Rujul Meets Bookshare

Rujul, an 11-year-old visually impaired student from Mumbai, India became acquainted with Bookshare during the height of Covid-19. Rujul was connected to Bookshare as a resource, through existing partnerships and programs established by Dr. Homiyar Mobedji, Program Management – Asia and Africa at Benetech, and his India-based Team. A local organization for the blind was able to provide Rujul’s family with access to Bookshare’s customer support through which Rujul and her family were able to contact Sanjog Kumawat, with Bookshare Membership Support. Sanjog assessed Rujul’s needs, and an ongoing plan was developed in accordance with her progress.

In spite of Rujul’s familiarity with technology such as laptops and desktops, due to the fact that her teachers did not understand her Braille writing, she often encountered difficulties in academic settings. With Sanjog’s tutorials and guidance, Rujul gained proficiency in typing on a laptop, learning how to use it for all her subjects including math. It was a joy for Kavita, Rujul’s mother, to witness her daughter feel more confident in her studies and realize the benefits of using accessible technology. Now Rujul expresses excitement about not having to carry her extremely heavy braille device every day to class. Rujul’s knowledge of technology and accessible devices has made her educational experience more inclusive and successful.

Inclusive Technology Enables a Life Well-Lived

Rujul is no stranger to excelling and making a positive impact in her community. Among her many accomplishments, she earned first place in Sankrut Katha Katah, a Sanskrit storytelling competition, in which she learned the syllabus for all the competitions on her own with the assistance of audio recordings. In addition, Rujul has participated in the annual Sanskrit Katha Kathan Competitions. In each of these instances, technology has contributed to Rujul’s personal achievements and skills. According to Rujul and her parents, the IES Mulund school has provided her with excellent support in terms of her studies and other aspects of her life.

“Thanks to Bookshare, Blind students are able to keep up with their peers in the classroom.”

Mr. Umadikar S. B. Principal of IES Mulund

Rujul’s enthusiasm and progress during her introduction to Bookshare led to a proficiency with technological devices. Kavita, Rujul’s mother, has passed this experience and information to another student who is also currently learning how to use technology as a new Bookshare user. The Principal of IES Mulund, Mr. Umadikar S. B., stated that they have increased the impact by sharing information about Bookshare to the Maharashtra board of exams, in which they emphasize the need to implement accessible and inclusive examination methods in order that other students across Maharashtra may benefit from what they have learned and experienced here.  With the support of Benetech, the Maharashtra Board has given permission to 3 students of grade 12th to write their own exams using computers for the first time in Pune, Maharashtra. Please visit this Linkedin article to learn more.

Kavita noted multiple advantages that stand out from their family’s Bookshare journey. The biggest advantage is access to many devices: laptops, mobile, etc. Additionally, the number of books available on Bookshare is unrivaled, as Rujul can read all her favorite books, including Harry Potter. Rujul is now able to read at the same level as other children. Lastly, she was impressed by how fast the Bookshare India team can upload new content that may not be available on Bookshare, as opposed to the 3-4 months it takes braille readers to upload new content.

Equitable Education through Bookshare

In their remarks, Rujul’s teacher Savita and the school’s principal Mr. Umadikar S.B. emphasized that using technology has enabled blind students to join in the classroom with their sighted peers without challenge. According to them, it is a much more efficient process, and any blind student can read on par with any other student.

Benetech and the Bookshare India team would like to thank IES Mulund Schools, Rujul’s parents, and teachers, as well as Mr. Umadikar S. B., the principal of IES Mulund for sharing their experiences with us. Our organization wishes Mr. Umadikar S. B. Principal of IES Mulund a happy retirement, as this was his last interview prior to celebrating many years of service in the field of education.

For more information about our international digital literacy impact, please visit If you would like more information about Bookshare please visit,