Vision-Aid’s impact – the numbers, and an inspiring story behind the numbers

Warm 4th of July greetings from the Vision-Aid team.

While carrying out our mission of enabling, educating and empowering the visually impaired, we strive to spread our services to have as a wide impact as possible with the available resources and so there is always a focus on the numbers and metrics. But in the end, what motivates many of us in the team is the inspiring individual stories behind these numbers.

Below, we share with you both the numbers (for the first quarter of 2019) and a very inspiring story which we selected from amongst many such stories. We hope you enjoy reading about the story of Ankit – most of which is told by him in a letter to us.

Vision-Aid Impact report – the numbers for the first quarter 2019 (January – March)

The numbers: During the first 3 months of this year, Vision-Aid offered 724 interventions to visually impaired individuals in 10 locations across India, offering 16 different services.

The services provided included low vision screening, optical and electronic devices, Computer training, Orientation and Mobility, Advanced Technical Training including programming, Spoken English, outreach camps in special schools for disabled children and more.

An inspiring story behind the numbers

Behind the numbers are the amazing stories. Here we share one of them. Ankit, a visually impaired student who is currently in our programming course. Ankit wrote to us the letter below to introduce himself, and we share this letter unedited with you.

My journey to B-Tech as a visually impaired student (This is a letter from Ankit)

Hi, everyone this is Ankit Deb from Kolkata, India. I am a visually impaired student (75% blind). I used to take help from scribers to write in the exams. I got 78% marks at my 10th standard and 73.40% at my 12th standard. I am not from a blind school as I am not totally blind. But, instead of having 78% marks in my 10th standard my state as well as my school refused me to take science for 12th standard. They told very clearly that I can’t go with science as I can’t able to see properly and they were started to make me understood that I should take something which is non-science based. But, I was not ready to act them on. I started to fight against their thought and was trying to tell them I will be capable enough to do all the tasks just like other sighted students. Still my school took the decision against me and told me that either you take the arts stream, or you leave the school. Then though I selected the arts stream but after going 7-8 days to the school I clearly understood that arts are not for me. I deserve to read science and decided that surely, I will do that. Then I started to contact with the several school authorities with the issue and finally in the school from where I gave the board exam my exam center, that head master agreed to give me the admission with the science stream. There also one teacher started to discourage me, but I just didn’t listen to her or anyone who thought I could not do things and kept on continuing with science and as a result she gave me very poor marks in the 12th practical to take her revenge. After the 12th standard I gave the JE Mains exam and cracked that and as a result got the admission in a central university (GGU Bikash Pur) with B-Tech in Computer Science and Engineering.

So, I would like to say that if you are a blind or low vision student and want to study with science you should surely go for that because if you make up your mind, nobody can prevent you, only the thing is you should be having the interest and the quality to do science.

Ankit

In 2019, Ankit joined Vision-Aid’s programming course, and this is the report from his program coordinator at Vision-Aid: 

Ankit is moving at more than double the speed in the Vision Aid course relative to other students and is working largely on his own with minimal guidance and mentoring. Being aware of the difficulty in finding a mainstream job, he has a sense of urgency to learn as much as possible while staying focused on the details. Exams were the only few occasions when he slowed down. He has completed second year of engineering and is already familiar with C/C++, Java, and more recently with Python. With a few syllabus related instructions from the facilitator, his Vision-Aid classes have largely been self-driven, besides being regular. He uses his time at Vision-Aid classes with his Vision-Aid teacher to discuss his doubts from the code that he attempts after reading through the online textbook on his own. His teacher Himanshu (one of our many dedicated volunteers) is very pleased with his progress and strong commitment and drive to learn and reports that during discussions, he is always eager to learn, and quite receptive to alternate approaches. 

After Engineering, Ankit plans to pursue master’s and to take up software engineering as a career. He joined Vision-Aid to become an expert in programming and Vision-Aid has placed him in our advanced mentoring track and working with our partner organization I-STEM in the US , to take his training is the next logical step in his career plans and Ankit is looking forward to his future with enthusiasm and anticipation, and is very grateful to Vision-Aid for all the encouragement and support he is receiving. 

We wish Ankit, and many like him, the very best. We also sincerely thank our volunteers like Himanshu (Ankit’s teacher) for doing what they do, and all the supporters and well-wishers of Vision-Aid for enabling us to do what we do! Couldn’t do it without you!

Again, happy July 4th, and hope you have a wonderful long weekend. 

Vision-Aid Team

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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.