Exciting new initiatives at Vision-Aid: Spoken English Classes at Agra and Aligarh

In 2017, Vision-Aid introduced Spoken English as one of the key programs in our model. We quickly realized that while many organizations teach spoken English, the materials and methods rely heavily on visual cues which do not work for the visually impaired students. So we set out to design a custom training program in spoken English for the visually impaired that can reach visually impaired students in all settings rural and urban.

Spoken English Classes at the Ahmadi Blind School in Aligarh

After running a first pilot in 2017, the program was expanded by bringing on board two team members on staff, to design and implement the program. Materials and methods were developed and currently two more pilots are being run – one in Agra at the Lui Braille Blind School, and one in Aligarh, at the Ahmadi Blind School.

The program is designed to work in a live classroom setting or a virtual (or blended) setting, and is taught both in a classroom setting (at Aligarh) and via virtual sessions (in Agra).  

Students and Staff at Lui Bralle Blind School, Agra with Syed Ali Rizvi from Boston 

The Vision-Aid team has been very encouraged with the initial results of the program and continues to refine it constantly based on learning in the pilot. We’re delighted to see students who could barely speak a couple of words in English 3 months ago are now speaking full sentences coherently. Most students are very enthusiastic to participate in classes because of their interactive, lively nature, and enjoy the whole learning process.

Over the years, in our efforts to enable, train and empower blind and low vision persons to live with independence and dignity, we have found that the ability to communicate fluently in English is a vital skill for our visually impaired students, opening more job and educational opportunities for them.

Students at Lui Bralle Blind School in Agra learning Spoken English virtually 

Currently, 16 students in Agra (in classes 9 – 12) and 23 students in Aligarh (in classes 7 – 10) are participating in the program. Classes are run 3 times a week in each location. Plans are  underway to expand the spoken English program to two other Vision-Aid locations in early 2019.

The spoken English team – from left to right: Adam Areeba, Rita 

Our big thanks and appreciation to our spoken English team – led by Rita Vachani, Program Coordinator, Mirza Adam and Areeba Shabbir, English instructors who are designing and delivering this innovative new course, and Hasan Kabeer from our technology partner in New Delhi Gyanmantra, for providing critical infrastructure and technical support, as well as help from Ujwala Phene and  many volunteers who set the early stage and helped along the way. And to our many supporters and well-wishers who make such programs possible. 

Vision-Aid India Relaunches its Website

The launch of this new website gives us renewed hope that India will see more lives of the visually impaired being transformed.

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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.