Happy Birthday Vision-Aid!

June 15, 2021 marks Vision-Aid’s 17th birthday. Vision-Aid started its journey 17 years ago, on June 15th, 2004 with its humble beginnings in Vizag with just one small center with 2 rooms 

 This first center operated from the then house of Mr. M.S.Raju who joined hands with his son Ramakrishna (Ram) Raju and Revathy Ramakrishna to open up the center in his own house by giving up the two rooms on the Ground Floor. One room was used for Low Vision Screening and another was used for Rehabilitation programs. All the founding members worked then, as they do today, as unpaid volunteers, because they believe passionately in the cause and derive immense satisfaction from the positive impact it is having on the lives of the visually impaired.

The total staff size at the starting was effectively 1.5 persons – one part-time Optometrist doing low vision services, one part-time trainer handling rehabilitation programs and one part-time manager taking care of all the administrative duties. Even these paid staff  drew very nominal stipends, and put in their immense time and dedication because they were also motivated by the service mission of the organization. This was the first low vision center not only in Vizag but in all of what is currently the state of Andhra Pradesh. The nearest well-established low vision center was in the LV Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, which was an overnight journey by train, from Vizag.  So the center quickly drew the attention of many local eye clinics and hospitals who were looking for such a service, and referrals of patients started flowing in.

This small center effectively served the needs of a large region with many visually impaired adults and children coming from all over the region including surrounding rural areas and towns, and just by organic reach began serving patients coming from as far as the neighboring state of Orissa. 

The center was also the first computer training center for the Visually Impaired in the region and became known for its quality computer training programs which could equip the visually impaired to become computer literate. 

From those humble beginnings, Vision-Aid has come a long way. Today, Vision-Aid is a an internationally respected service organization, serving thousands of visually impaired persons across a broad network of resource centers in India, and works in partnership with some of the most respected national organizations including the Aravind Eye Hospital (Madurai), the L.V.Prasad Eye Institute (Hyderabad), Sankara Nethralaya (Chennai), Shroff Charity Eye Hospital (Delhi), Community Eye Care Foundation (Pune), Voluntary Health Services (Chennai) and many others.  By the end of 2021, Vision-Aid programs will be running in over 20 locations across India. The Vision-Aid staff base is also continually expanding with a broad base of talent, to meet the growing needs. 

Today, in addition to the original founders Ramakrishna (Ram) Raju and Revathy Ramakrishna, the leadership team in both India and the US has a stellar constellation of leaders. The US organization is headed by Chairman Mr. Puran Dang, President Mr. Lalit Sudan and over 30 talented board members. The India organization is headed by Mr. M.S.Raju Chairman, Dr. Col. M.Sitaram, President, Mr. V.L.Narasimhan Member Secretary and Mr. Vijay Francis, Program Director.

Despite its rapid growth the organization still preserves its core values of service and volunteerism at all levels, and its commitment to the mission of enabling, educating, and empowering the visually impaired to live with independence and dignity. The journey has just begun and Vision-Aid is still taking very early steps in its grand vision of creating a resource center for the visually impaired in every under-served location!

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.

Vision-Aid Newsletter

Vision-Aid Course Catalog

Vision-Aid Model

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.