What is Vision-Aid doing during these challenging times?

What is Vision-Aid doing during COVID-19?

At this time, Vision-Aid centers in India, have paused physical, in-person services like most of the country. Where possible, a majority of the team members are working from home and productively engaging themselves in online programs, training and curriculum development. Some of their endeavors are highlighted below: 

Vision-Aid Online Academy

The Vision-Aid Online Academy (VOA) – our training portal – is being more actively used than ever. Several trainers are helping the VOA team in reviewing existing content and developing new content. This exercise is expected to lead to a significant upgrade in VOA offerings over the next few months, which will serve Vision-Aid well in the long term, by helping us to scale up our programs in the future.

Online training programs for the visually impaired

Several programs are running or starting soon which offer virtual training to visually impaired students all over India. These programs include: 

Training in programming: Students are learning how to code with expert mentors online. This includes a special, new initiative in partnership with Indic-AI, a Delhi based organization working to empower the visually impaired with AI. Vision-Aid is currently training 11 visually impaired students from Indic-AI in programming skills. The first class was held successfully on March 14th and classes are ongoing.

Training in Spoken English: A new online course in spoken English is being launched to virtually teach visually impaired school children spoken English. Currently, many of these children are sitting at home with school closures and facing uncertainty. Vision-Aid hopes to use this program to improve their spoken English skills, and it will start now and run through summer.

Digital Accessibility Testing Training: The second session of this popular advanced technical course is being launched, and demand from Visually Impaired students from all over India has been very strong.

Staff training

Trying to make the most of these difficult times and social isolation, a series of training sessions is being organized for Vision-Aid trainers. Trainers are learning new skills in mobile technology, computer applications and other topics. The team of trainers meets frequently (every other day) to discuss what they have learned and exchange ideas and knowledge

 New training Development

 The team is actively exploring the creation of new courses in mobile technology, low vision, braille and other topics. These courses are being scoped out and will be added to the pipeline of training course publications in the Vision-Aid Online Academy.

 Information sessions

 Vision-Aid has organized 3 online webinars on the subject of “De-mystifying MOOCs” – a series which aims to educate the visually impaired on how they can learn online through Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs). The talks were led by Vision-Aid’s Sonal Patel, and were aired on Radio Udan – a radio channel heard by thousands of visually impaired in India. The response to the talks has been overwhelmingly positive. The links to the talks is shared below:

Demystifying MOOCS Series

Panel 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2-pQyW0Emo&t=34s

Panel 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZ3cSD8X3m0&t=928s

Panel 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eq5oXiTnsLg&feature=youtu.be

 Vision-Aid students taking Harvard Course CS50 Online

Several students from Vision-Aid’s advanced programming course are participating online in Harvard University’s CS50 class. The photos below show the students talking to Harvard’s CS50 legendary professor David Malan online.

Supporting visually impaired at our centers

While several of our physical centers and services have been paused temporarily, we are trying to actively reach past students via phone and see if they can engage in and benefit from our online services. This includes the recently graduated scholars from our Vision-Aid Maskati scholarship program.

If you wish to support any of these efforts, your support is welcome and appreciated. During this period , like everything else, fund raising has also been difficuly, and so any support will be much appreciated and will go a long way in ensuring that Vision-Aid stays healthy and well! Online donations can be made here: https://visionaid.org/how-your-donation-helps

We sincerely thank you for your kind support!

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.

Vision-Aid Newsletter

Vision-Aid Course Catalog

Vision-Aid Model

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.