Smartphone Initiative

Vision-Aid and Trees For Life India are joining hands to provide life-changing Smart-phone technology to visually impaired from under-privileged backgrounds. In 2021 , we started with a pilot which covers ten locations, and the results have been phenomenal. 

About the program

Smart phone companies have poured a lot of money to pack smart technology into today’s devices and there are many innovative apps (including AI based apps) which can totally transform the life of a blind or visually impaired user. Our dedicated volunteers and team members in US and India have been hard at work, coordinating the logistics of this multi-location rollout.

A matching grant from Trees For Life Foundation doubles the impact with every donation to the program being doubled. With your love and support, we are sure we can keep growing this program in 2022.

Visually Impaired beneficiaries are carefully selected based on both need (i.e. under-privileged backgrounds) and aptitude – i.e. their ability to learn and utilize the devices and training optimally to get the most benefit.

Update December 2021: 

At the Dr. R.S.Ayyar Vision-Aid center in Pune

We are really delighted to report that The Dr. Ayyar Vision-Aid center, at Pune, became the latest location where smart phones were distributed this week, in a joint event hosted by Vision-Aid, our partner Community Eye Care Foundation (CECF) and the Rotary Club of Pune. Our grateful thanks to the Saigal family – Anil Saigal Ranjani Saigal Parvathy Ayyar and the extended family for their support for the Ayyar Vision-Aid center in Pune in the honor of the late Dr. R.S.Ayyar, former Dean of IIT-Bombay. The Indian Express covered the event:

At the Lachhman Dass Gupta Vision-Aid Center in Delhi

At the Lachhman Dass Gupta Vision-Aid Center in Delhi

Vision-Aid celebrated the #InternationalDayofPersonswithDisabilities, in Delhi at the Gupta Vision-aid Center at Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, with the launch of the new program which enables the visually impaired with life changing technology and training! Our sincere thanks to Ram Gupta & Meetu Gupta for their support and all team members in Vision-Aid and Shroff for making such programs possible.

Dr Shroff

The Financial Express covered the event:

At the Vision-Aid Vizag Center

Vision-Aid’s center at Vizag also joined the rollout with devices being distributed to visually impaired students in the Vizag region, who now embark on their exciting learning journey!

At the Vision-Aid Vizag Center

Next in line is Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai and Voluntary Health Services in Chennai.

Update November 2021: 

 Vision-Aid Centers across India are celebrating Diwali this year by lighting up smart phones to brighten up the lives of the visually impaired.

Smart phone companies have poured a lot of money into creating very powerful technology in today’s devices, and there are many sophisticated mobile apps freely available to the trained user which can have a life-changing impact on them. These apps range from AI-based apps which can help blind users see objects around them, to navigation apps which can help them navigate safely, as well as learning apps which can help them connect to a range of digital resources for learning and education. Through such apps, smart phones can become like constant personal companions helping to enable, educate and empower the blind and visually impaired to live with independence and dignity.

Participants are screened carefully based on both need (all of them are from under-privileged backgrounds) and aptitude – i.e. their potential ability to use smart phone technology effectively.Here are a few glimpses from roll out’s this past week.

The Palakurthi Vision-Aid Center in L.V.Prasad Eye Inst. in Hyderabad

The Palakurthi Vision-Aid Center in L.V.Prasad Eye Inst. in Hyderabad

This became the first location in the All India roll-out. The photos above shows Volunteer President of Vision-Aid India (Dr. Col. Sitaram) and Board member (Mr. Y.V.Ramana) with the beneficiaries and the entire LVPEI Vision Rehab team.

The Nethra Blind School in Vizag

The Nethra Blind School in Vizag

The Nethra Blind schools in Vizag and Hyderabad have been long-standing partners of Vision-Aid, serving poor and rural children and youth from rural areas, with high-quality, free education (K-12 plus college). The photo shows our Vizag team with the students and the Nethra team, at the ceremony.

Sankara Nethralaya’s in Chennai

Sankara Nethralaya (SN) has been a trusted long term partner for many years, and the smart phone distribution event was attended by the entire SN leadership team, Low Visoin/Rehab and Vision-Aid India team in Chennai. The news report from the Indian Express and Hindu provide good coverage of the event.

Indian Express

Indian Express

The Hindu

Click on the following link to see the article in The Hindu

The Vandana & Vivek Sharma Vision-Aid Resources Center in Agra

The Vandana & Vivek Sharma Vision-Aid Resources Center in Agra

Around 20 blind students from the Agra region were happy to receive their devices, and commence their training with Vision-Aid. The members of the center were delighted to have Vandana Sharma at the event!

Vision-Aid sincerely thank everyone who has made this wonderful, life-changing program possible including the donors who donated smart phones,the team members and volunteers. May these smart-phones and the technology they contain lighten up the lives of many visually impaired in this festival season!

A Digital Accessibility Testing Testimonial | Nibin Mathews

Nibin Mathews’ journey is a testament to resilience and determination. Despite facing

significant visual impairment challenges since birth, Nibin pursued education with unwavering determination. Losing sight in one eye due to a cricket ball stroke in 6th grade and later losing vision in the other eye to glaucoma didn’t deter him. He completed his Bachelor’s in English and even secured a job with Indian Railways. Yet, his thirst for knowledge led him to pursue computer programming, which he found through Vision-Aid. With their specialized training, he mastered coding and digital accessibility testing. With their financial support, he pursued a Master’s degree. Now, as the Accessibility Lead at Bosch Global Software Technologies, he’s excelling professionally. But Nibin’s achievements don’t stop there; he’s also an international tennis champion and a skilled violinist. He attributes much of his success to Vision-Aid, acknowledging their pivotal role in his journey. His story is not just one of personal triumph but also a testament to the impact of support systems in overcoming challenges and inspiring others.

A Job Coaching for Banking and other exams Testimonial | Gautam Gulati

Meet Gautam, a remarkable individual based in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, whose life story is a testament to resilience, determination, and the transformative power of organizations like Vision-Aid India.

Gautam’s life commenced with the diagnosis of Retinist Pigmentosa. Despite experiencing a 40% loss of sight, he persevered through attending a regular school, successfully completing his education and earning a B Com degree. His world took an unexpected turn after graduation, when, he had the major sight loss. Faced with the challenges of navigating everyday activities like driving, reading, writing print, and mobility etc. Yet, rather than allowing these obstacles to define him, he chose a path of resilience and determination. Undeterred by his circumstances, Gautam turned to technology, becoming dependent on tools designed for visually impaired individuals, including screen readers. His quest for independence led him to explore new technologies with the support of various NGOs. Through his social networks, Gautam discovered Vision-Aid India, an organization dedicated to empowering the visually impaired. Recognizing the potential for growth, he enrolled in Vision-Aid’s IBPS banking crash course, specifically tailored for visually impaired individuals, in April 2022.

Determined to enhance his skills further, Gautam pursued an additional course in mobile technology. This commitment to personal and professional growth showcased his unwavering spirit and determination.

Armed with newfound knowledge, Gautam faced the Bank of India Credit Officer exam after completing the IBPS crash course. His hard work, coupled with the right guidance from Vision-Aid, resulted in success. In 2023, Gautam proudly joined Bank of India as a Credit Officer, marking a significant milestone in his journey.

Gautam attributes his success and newfound independence to Vision-Aid India. With deep gratitude, he acknowledges the organization’s role in providing IBPS coaching and shaping his path towards independence.

A Python Testimonial

Tejas

Tejas, born with visual impairment in Mumbai, pursued his education at a Blind School. After school, he graduated from St. Xavier’s College in 2007. His quest for technology education led him to NIIT Bangalore, but job challenges followed. He worked as an HR Recruiter at Thomson Reuters but continued his search for software engineering opportunities. Tejas found his path at Vision-Aid India, where he gained certifications in JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Python, and Digital Accessibility Testing. Vision-Aid then helped him secure a role as an Associate Software Engineer at Pristine InfoTech Inc. He’s deeply grateful to Vision-Aid for enabling visually impaired individuals to learn software languages and work independently as software engineers.

Bindhu Sri

Meet Bindu, from Hyderabad. Who began her life with the gift of perfect vision? She embarked on her educational journey in a conventional school, but at the tender age of 9, her world dimmed as Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) impacted her sight. Loosing major of her vision with lot of challenges she still could complete her graduate degree in 2020 and her post-graduate degree in 2022. Being interested to pursue her career in computer programming she discovered Vision-Aid India, a beacon of hope and opportunity. Enrolling in their online certification programs, Bindu successfully completed both Python and SQL languages. Armed with these newfound skills, she opened doors to her career, securing a position as a Data Engineer at RX Data Science, a renowned company.

“All of this was made possible through the invaluable support and guidance provided by Vision-Aid India” She Says.

A HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and ARIA Fundamentals for Accessible Web Development Testimonial

Tejas

Tejas, born with visual impairment in Mumbai, pursued his education at a Blind School. After school, he graduated from St. Xavier’s College in 2007. His quest for technology education led him to NIIT Bangalore, but job challenges followed. He worked as an HR Recruiter at Thomson Reuters but continued his search for software engineering opportunities. Tejas found his path at Vision-Aid India, where he gained certifications in JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Python, and Digital Accessibility Testing. Vision-Aid then helped him secure a role as an Associate Software Engineer at Pristine InfoTech Inc. He’s deeply grateful to Vision-Aid for enabling visually impaired individuals to learn software languages and work independently as software engineers.