Vision-Aid appoints Puran Dang as Chairman Emeritus, and Veena Handa as Vice Chair

The Board of Directors of Vision-Aid, a Lexington, MA-based nonprofit organization, has appointed Puran Dang as Chairman Emeritus, a life-time position, and Veena Handa as Vice Chair of the Advisory Board for a term of five years, in recognition of their contributions to the cause of the visually impaired.

Mr. Dang has been a community leader for over fifty years. He has founded many organizations of international repute. He founded the very first IIT Alumni Association of the IIT Alumni, which has evolved into PAN-IIT all over the world. Over the last 25 years, he has been Chairman and now Chairman Emeritus of MIT Heritage of The Arts of South Asia – MITHAS and Ekal Vidyalaya. He has played important role in TIE-Boston, Akshaya Patra, Indian Americans of Lexington (IAL), are a few other organizations where he held leadership roles.

Puran Dang
Mr. Dang is also a Professor of Leadership & Entrepreneurship at Adamas University, Kolkata. His devotion to Ekal and Akshaya Patra is deep seated. He is also an ambassador of the Perkins School for the Blind. Currently, he is focused on Vision-Aid as its Chairman. Helping visually challenged children and adults is his major goal. Mr. Dang has won many awards for his humanitarian service. His alma-mater IIT Kharagpur honored him with first “Distinguished Service Award” out of some 45,000 alumni. Most inspiring for him is the love of his family and friends who always stand with him.

Mr. Dang says that all that he has achieved in his life is because of the love of his wife, Kamlesh, who has always whole-heartedly supported him in all his endeavors.

Welcoming the appointment, Vision-Aid President Lalit Sudan said that for many years, Vision-Aid has been fortunate to have the benefit of Mr. Dang’s leadership, compassion, dedication, and generosity.

“He truly has been an inspiration for all the volunteers and team members of Vision-Aid. His tireless devotion and goodwill ambassadorship has helped Vision-Aid to enable, educate and empower an increasing number of visually impaired individuals across India to lead productive and independent lives,” said Mr. Sudan. “It gives us immense pleasure to bestow the most deserving honor of Chairman Emeritus for life to Puran Ji. We are looking forward to his continued involvement and mentorship over the coming years.”

Veena Handa
Ms. Handa holds a Master’s Degree from Lady Irwin College, Delhi. She has held many senior roles for world class companies in India, Australia and US. Since she arrived in USA in 1972, she has held executive positions working for 3 of the leading Fortune 500 Financial Institutions (MetLife, Fidelity Investments and finally John Hancock Financial). During her career, she managed multiple operations with hundreds of resources across Boston, New Hampshire, Toronto and Philippines. and travelled across the globe to oversee her operations.

Throughout her career, Ms. Handa was a mentor and a coach for employees, as well as an advocate for their career development. She initiated Robotics Process Automation for John Hancock organization which is currently used for multiple operations which enabled them to save over 30% of their budget. She served on the Advisory Board for John Hancock’s Global Women’s Alliance for over 3 years and sponsored multiple programs, namely, Mentor and Mentee coaching, extending Family Leave from 6 weeks to 12 weeks, Networking and Leadership events. During her tenure, she earned an Excellence in Service Award from MetLife and a STAR of Excellence Award from John Hancock.

Since her retirement at the end of 2017, Ms. Handa has been volunteering for Vision-Aid as an Advisory Board Member and readily admits it is her most favorite non-profit organization as she believes in the cause it serves. Among other voluntary work, she is on the board for Non-Profit.Net of Lexington and a member of AIF Circle of Hope.

Ms. Handa volunteers at LexingtonCommunity Center where she works on special projects and has delivered talks on Budget Planning and Retirement Plan Services. Most recently during the Covid pandemic, she joined “Sew We Care” Team which provided over 20,000 masks and scrub caps to hospitals, health centers and senior centers and she personally made over 1,000 masks and scrub caps as part of this team. She also volunteers for Minuteman Senior Services as a Money Manager helping Seniors who cannot do it themselves pay their bills, and as a certified Shine Counselor educating seniors with their healthcare needs through Medicare and Supplement Insurance.

Ms. Handa states that her biggest support and inspiration is her husband, Pramod Handa, who has always encouraged her and stood by her to do her best in every role whether it was her career or now her passion for volunteer work.

Vision-Aid founders Ramakrishna (Ram) Raju and Revathy Ramakrishna warmly welcomed the appointments of Ms. Handa as Vice Chair, saying “We are honored and delighted to welcome Mrs. Veena Handa into the role of Vice Chair. She is an exemplary board member, tirelessly contributing her time, energy and talent in many ways to Vision-Aid’s cause. We feel fortunate to have leaders like Mr. Puran Dang, Mrs. Veena Handa and Mr. Lalit Sudan at the helm of Vision-Aid, setting the stage for the next phase of Vision-Aid’s exciting trajectory as it scales up its programs to reach many more visually impaired in the coming years.”

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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

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.

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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.