Python programming: Narrative from near the winning post.

In early Fall, Vision-Aid volunteer teachers began working with student volunteers from IIT Chennai, and visually impaired students from multiple locations across India to teach them an MIT computer programming course. These classes have exceeded our expectations. Students are making excellent progress and excitement is building up at Vision-Aid and IIT Chennai as we near the Shaastra summit hackathon for the visually impaired at IIT to be held on Jan 2nd, 2017.

It has been exciting and inspiring to watch the amazing progress on this initiative, and seeing our A team of teachers, students and volunteers at work.  Their dedication and commitment is nothing short of extraordinary.  There are many moving parts, and we just want to share a few highlights with you here:

  • The hackathon presentations will be split across a few different teams based on their geographical location and skills. The “Bangalore team” has 4 blind students working on a project, to develop a computer game called “Maze” – an interesting idea conceived by one of our IIT Chennai volunteers Aravinth. The students are working on different pieces of this project to develop an interactive and fun game, where players can use audio cues to navigate through a maze.
  •  During his trip to India last week and this week Sudhir Varna, one of the teachers, met with our Bangalore based students and via a mini-workshop, helped them begin the process of brainstorming the design and implementation approach for the hackathon project. He was joined by Advaith the student coordinator from IIT Chennai who is engaging actively and early in the project to ensure success at IITM on Jan 2nd. In his email to the team Sudhir described the blind students Bangalore as “This is a very sharp, excited group of students. They were coming with real nice suggestions & improvements. “. 
  • In the meantime, teachers Swaroop Vattam and Sri Lingamarla , volunteer teachers here in the  US, in addition to their weekly teaching, developed a clear requirements document for the game and also built and packaged a fully self contained working package showing how to implement the game,  that the students and TA’s and IIT Chennai,  can use as a reference
  • In a parallel effort to introduce younger children to the wonders of programming, Sulochana, working with our 2 teaches form Vizag and a student volunteer from IIT Chennai led a successful workshop at the Devnar school for the blind in Hyderabad to train 6 blind school children, 3 boys and 3 girls from grades 9th and 10th. After completing this workshop the 6 children continue to work with their teachers remotely preparing demos for the hackathon. Each student is developing and demonstrating a separate program of their own. 
  • Volunteer teacher Sonal Patel has been guide, mentor and teacher-par-excellence for her student Bhargav, and also been the tireless cheerleader for all of us – injecting her enthusiasm every day into everything the team does. She has also been serving as an invaluable bridge between our team and the MIT/EDX teams – steering students who have successfully completed our course through the more advanced edX offering so they can get formal MIT certification from edX and simultaneously helping the accessibility teams at edX assess and improve their own site accessibility. This symbiotic relationship has been really fruitful for Vision-Aid and edX.
  • Giri Lingamarla, in addition to leading the whole effort in his pleasant, easy going, efficient management style, tying the complex logistics, has been working with a visually impaired student from IIT M guiding him to complete the MIT Python course. The student has already completed over 70% of the course and going to present a demo of his own

A big thanks to Giri, Sri,Sonal, Sulochana, Sudhir and Swaroop. It has been really inspiring to see their efforts taking shape so beautifully. Student volunteers from IIT Chennai have played a crucial role in assisting teachers in delivering classes and planning for the project. Above all, congratulations to our awesome students who have risen to this challenge and inspiring all of us with their abilities.

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.