Hyderabad: Payal Kapoor lost her eyesight when she was just 22. However, she didn’t lose her positive spirit and was determined to do well in life and help others as well. Undeterred by the loss, Payal has been trying to teach the visually-impaired through her podcasts and YouTube channel.
Three decades after this, Payal recently won NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards 2021 for creating an impact in accessibility and universal design. “I had an undiagnosed case of viral meningitis and it has left me completely blind and deaf for a few months but after taking the treatment, I got my hearing back after four months,” says the 52-year-old.
Payal, who is passionate about cooking also makes five-course meals and feeds people. She not only learnt but also teaches visually-impaired people through her YouTube channel, ‘Rasoi ke Rahasya’. This channel was started in April 2020 where she teaches how to cook, on her own.
“Pandemic was the biggest challenge for many. Even differently-abled people were forced to learn cooking to feed themselves in pandemic. That’s when I got an idea of starting my YouTube channel to help them. It has been designed like a podcast or an audio tutorial,” says Payal, who is currently teaching basic cooking via the channel.
Most people must be wondering how is she using technology and creating tutorials. To such people, Payal says assistive technology such as talkback apps on smartphone, using barcode-reading device that reads out the names of the ingredients on the shelf, etc., help her. In some cases, the names of the ingredients that people want to use in their cooking are written in Braille language, she shares.
The students are taught to place their hands above the wok/pan at a safe distance to feel the heat. “It’s a slow process of learning. I make sure to teach them to cook on slow to medium heat to be on the safe side,” says Payal, who has trained more than a thousand people so far.
She has also made sure to conduct at least one workshop a week in schools and corporations. Her mission is to help children and build self-confidence in them.