Vision-Aid collaboration with Perkins

The Vision-Aid leadership team had a productive meeting with the leadership team at Perkins School for the Blind, Boston. The meeting was to discuss ways to collaborate and work togehter in India.

Perkins is an iconic institution which serves approximately 200 students on campus and many children with special needs through training. It offers services via regional public school systems. Perkins International impacts the lives of thousands of disabled children in 67 countries. Perkins Solutions, offers innovative assistive technology products and training to the visually impaired. 

The meeting was held at Perkins School for the Blind, Watertown, MA. It was attended by members of Vision-Aid and Perkins. Representing Perkins International/Perkins India were:

  • Dave Power- President/CEO Perkins School for the Blind
  • Katherine (Katie) Holland- Executive Director, Perkins International
  • Kristen Layton- Director, Perkins India
  • Paige Klotzman- Program Coordinator, Perkins India
  • Dipa Bhattacharya- Senior Development Specialist, Perkins Trust

Vision-Aid’s team included:

  • Puran Dang, Chairman
  • Ram Raju, Founder & Executive Director
  • Syed Ali Rizvi, President
  •  

After the initial introductions, both Perkins and Vision-Aid shared their details about their work. Vision-Aid provided details about its background, centers in India and the Vision-Aid Low Vision Resource Center Model. Perkins was informed of Vision-Aids recently signed MOU with Shroff Charitable Eye Hospitals in New Delhi. Co-incidentally Perkins are also in discussion with them and might have a signed agreement with SCEH in the next few months. Both Vision-Aid and Perkins are therefore well placed to offer timely help and collaboration in this important project. 

Perkins currently has an office in Mumbai and a full-time staff in New Delhi that works in the field.  Perkins advised Vision-Aid on their various projects in India including IDI which focuses on identification and early intervention for children with multiple disabilities and Visually Impaired (MDVI).  Perkins aims to define a protocol, identify  and design a stable process for doing a census of MDVI (Multiple Disabilities and Visually Impaired) children. These are children who are not in any “system”. These children,who are very young and often found to be not going to any school, have not been approached by any caregiver/NGO. If they are not reached out now, these kids may never attend school and their quality of life will suffer. Perkins focus for this intervention is in Uttar Pradesh and specifically Lucknow. Vision-Aid through its resources in UP and in India will help Perkins with their IDI project. SCEH have their regional centers in Mathura and Gurgaon, near New Delhi. With this identification, the children with MDVI will be provided with the necessary assessments and interventions at SCEH. 

The next set of meetings with Perkins are scheduled to be held around September. Their staff will be going to India in late october/november and will visit Vision-Aid’s resource centers at various locations. Vision-Aid will also help Perkins with their work in UP for data collection through Vision-Aid’s network of contacts and volunteers in the area. 

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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, 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.