Meet the First batch of Vision-Aid Dr. Badar and Mariam Maskati Scholars!

While the Vision-Aid team in Boston was focused on the mega annual event, a wonderful new Vision-Aid program was taking birth, halfway around the world,  in Vizag India. On Monday July 22nd, the first batch of Vision-Aid Maskati Scholars arrived at Vizag from nearby areas and began their six-month long journey to acquire new skills, in the residential training program in Vizag.

Vision-Aid Maskati Scholarship

In April 2019 year, a generous donor created an endowment fund, in honor of her parents Dr. Badar and Mariam Maskati of Mumbai. The endowment funds a scholarship to train visually impaired youth in an intensive residential training program that will help them acquire skills in Computer Applications, Mobile Technologies, Spoken English and other soft Skills. The program also included coaching in Banking and Public Sector employment examinations.

Planning

The Vision-Aid team in Vizag has been hard at work initially with recruitment and screening, and then with the planning and arrangements. The team at Vizag was trying to ensure that the time the scholars spend at Vision-Aid proves most beneficial and productive for the scholars. In addition to class room skills training, the scholars will also have extra-curricular activities such as Yoga, integrated into the program, to provide a balanced curriculum. The entire cost for the program, including residential costs, training costs and incidental costs are covered by the Maskati endowment and with generous support of other donors. In September, we are excited to welcome an AIF-Clinton Fellow, will join and contribute to this new program.

First Day

The program opened at 10 AM with a ceremonial lighting of the lamp. Members of the leadership team gave short welcome messages. All the students introduced themselves and explained how they were selected for this program and what they expect to learn. Light Refreshments were served to all. After that students got their first computer lesson and the training began as per the daily schedule. In the afternoon, the first online spoken English class started.

Future growth

This first batch of scholars are part of an initial pilot. There is a plan to scale up the program to other locations in the future. There is also a plan to continue and expand the current program in Vizag, with a new batch of scholars joining every six months.

The Scholars

All the students come from poor, under-privileged segments of the surrounding communities and are very excited and eager to take advantage of the opportunity. Their profiles are listed below:

1. Miss K. Satyavati, aged 21 years, suffers from total vidual impairment. She has a Bachelors Degree in Science and lives in a village about 100 kilometers from Vizag. Having completed her graduation, she is seeking help in pursuing various skill development courses and her aspiration is to secure a job and become financially independent.

2. Mr L. Siva Narayana, aged about 25  years, suffers from complete blindness. He has a Bachelors Degree in Science and lives near Vizag. He is keen in pursuing Computer education and secure a job in a technical field, which he feels will be a turning point in his life.

3. Mr Nasik Basha is a 23 year old blind young man. He has has a Bachelors Degree in Law and lives in Vijayawada about 400 kilometers from Vizag. He is keen on getting coached to write competitive and banking examinations and secure a job in one of those sectors. He comes from a family of an farmers and is preparing for competitive exams. His father is a farmer and mother a home maker.

4. Mr Reddy Krishna, 24 years old, suffers from total vision impairment. He has a Bachelors degree in Social Work and lives in Srikakulam district which is about 100 kilometers from Vizag.  He is currently a student at Vision-Aid, Vizag, learning the Python Programming basics.

5. Mr G Apala Chari, 25 years old, suffering from total blindness. He has a Bachelors degree in Arts and is currently a student at Vision-Aid learning Computer Training. He hails from Vijyanagaram, about 80 kilometers from Vizag.

6. Mr. S Shyam Sundar, aged about 33 years, is completely blind. He had attained a Bachelors degree in Commerce but could not secure a job for the past 5 years despite his persistent efforts. He is keen in getting coached in competitive and banking examinations and secure a job. He is currently a student at Vision-Aid, undergoing Certificate of Computer Applications training.

7. Ms. A Aishwarya, is a 21 year old blind young woman. She has a Bachelors degree in Arts. She is keen securing bank job.

For more pictures of the inauguration please see the Facebook album.

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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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.