Vision-Aid programs at BPA in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Vision-Aid Board member, Dr. Bharti Gangwani, visited Vision-Aid partner Blind Peoples Association, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. BPA is a network of 26 blind schools in Gujarat with about 3000 children. BPA has about 220 students in their school in the main campus, which Bharti visited. The overall estimate of visual impairment is about 0.5% in general population in Ahmedabad.

Bharti met with Mr Bhushan Purnani, Executive secretary of BPA, an IIM-A graduate and Ranchod Soni, English teacher, technical teacher who is visually impaired along with Vidhi who is a helper to Mr. Ranchod Soni. Bharti said “I was very impressed with their passion and commitment to service.” All the Vision-Aid programs were discussed at length. Bharti provided a detailed report about various aspect of the partnership.

Vision-Aid Digital Magnifiers Program: As a pilot Vision-Aid had sent 30 low-cost digital magnifiers as a trial to see if they would be effective. BPA have given it to their students. They reported that students find it to be very helpful owing to its features of being able to change contrast and magnification. They would be interested in getting more magnifiers. Mr Purnani said that ideally they would like all their students to have the magnifier since it is such a helpful tool to the visually impaired for their education and in their daily life. Most of their students are very poor and cannot afford it even though Vision-Aid offers it at a highly subsidized price. It should be noted that comparable models available in the market can cost 10 to 20 times more than the pricing Vision-Aid offers. BPA agreed to pay for the first 200 magnifiers for their students. In an ideal scenario they were hoping that a donor could pay for the magnifiers. Eventually, they would like to provide one device to each student who can use it throughout the state.

Orbit Braille Devices: The Vision-Aid planned pilot was discussed. According to the plan, Vision-Aid will send 10 Orbit Braille devices to BPA so that they can have 1 device per class for training in 4 classes. The remaining 6 devices would be made available in the library for the students to borrow and use. BPA are excited about this program since the future potential across the state is immense. These devices will help blind students realize braille literacy and improve their overall learning and development skills with modern refreshable digital technology. Vision-Aid partners with Orbit to offer this hi-tech solution to Vision-Aid partners. Vision-Aid is also looking into raising funding for these devices.

Spoken English: A plan for starting spoken English classes,run by Vision-Aid, at BPA was discussed . Ranchod himself is an English teachers. He has Masters degree in English despite being visually impaired. Bharti explained the Vision-Aid teaching model of part virtual and part local. They identified the English teacher who would be involved. Her name is Anju Gulati . BPA agreed this was a very useful skill for their beneficiaries to have, especially young adults and youth who are seeking jobs.

Scholarship Program: BPA currently has a computer training program in collaboration with Tania computer for a duration of 4 months. They want to expand this program to follow a model similar to Vision-Aid scholarship. They are interested in visiting Vision-Aid’s Vizag centre and reviewing the program schedule to learn more.

Bharti learned that Dr Purnani is an advisor to VoSAP, Voice of specifically abled people, a global organization that wants to redefine the idea of a disabled person.

Bharti thinks BPA is a commendable organization and a great partner for Vision-Aid. Together, the two organizations could do a lot to serve the visually impaired in Gujarat. 

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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.