What’s happening at Vision-Aid – a field report

While the Vision-Aid team in Massachusetts has been bustling with various activities, like the annual fundraiser programBoston accessibility conference and a busy fall semester in our programming course for the visually impaired, the Vision-Aid programs in India have also been busy with many initiatives this fall. Our team members and partners across India have conscientiously been making  strides in different areas.  Here is an update highlighting some of their work:

Jeeyar Educational Trust (JET) (AP/Telangana)

The Vision-Aid team procured and installed a range of training equipment at Nethra Rushikonda (near Vizag) and Nethra Shamshedabad (near Hyderabad).  JET teachers were trained and can now connect to the Vishakhapatnam center for easy two-way collaboration and joint training initiatives.

A special course was designed for initiating ICA (Induction Program for Computer Application for the Visually Impaired) a new training course in accessibility technology. Several students were trained in the Shamshedabad and Rushikonda Nethra centers using the new equipment and course materials. 

Seven teachers from Nethra Rushikonda underwent a short ACA (Administrator in Computer Applications) training course at our Vizag Center. 

Sevabharti (Mangalore, Karnataka)

New students with low vision, from different age groups were enrolled in computer training classes at Seva Bharathi. Students already enrolled in three additional classes that had already started in the summer continue to make great progress. Exams will hold to evaluate the level of progress for these students soon. Vision-Aid is planning on a standardized benchmarking exam across all its programs and the pilot testing will be conducted in Seva Bharathi over the next few months before rolling it out to other locations. 

Milton (Berhampur , Odisha)

Visually impaired students were provided mobility training. In addition to its six students successfully completing the Vision-Aid DCA (Diploma in Computer Applications) training course. 

Sankar Netralaya (Chennai, Tamil Nadu)

Around 40 visually impaired patients of Shankar Netralaya (SN), who belong to the financially disadvantaged strata of the society, were provided with various devices by Vision-Aid through the newly established collaboration between Vision-Aid and SN. These devices include magnifiers like stand magnifier, dome magnifier, half eyes, and glasses etc., which were given freely to needy visually impaired patients at SN’s low vision clinic in Chennai. 

Vision-Aid Vizag (Andhra Pradesh)

In collaboration with Rotary club a conference was organized the demonstrated the installation and usage of Vision-Aid Info desk. The event helped share information about Vision-Aid programs with local Rotarians and was also successfully instrumental in spot raising funds to support Vision-Aid.

COHOOTS (Co-Operative Hostel for Out Of Towners) is up and running with great success. It is instrumental is encouraging visually impaired students  from outlying areas to come to Vizag, to complete comprehensive and extended training courses that will help them be self-reliant.

The center received several visitors from different parts of the world were introduced to the work Vision-Aid is doing on ground. 

Vision-Aid Vizag continues to lead the way as our flagship center with staff and teachers from the Vizag center travelling to other Vision-Aid centers and partners   provided training and guidance.

New/Upcoming Initiatives

  • The new Vision-Aid center in Agra is in advanced stages of planning and procurement. The target is to establish the  infrastructure and have a fully functional state-of-the-art training facility to serve the 60 residential students at the Agra Blind school by the end of the year. 
  • The first shipment of Vision-Aid’s  new low cost Digital Magnifiers have arrived in India and will be making their way into the hands of low vision persons soon!
  • The spoken English program is picking up steam and we expect that all course content will be completed by the end of the year, with classes in spoken English staring up in 2018 to teach our visually impaired students  a valuable new skill – conversational English.
  • A hackathon for the visually impaired is planned in Bangalore in January 2018 which will give visually impaired students from all over India to show case their talents to tech. companies in Bangalore, with a goal to helping them gain tech jobs.
  • A new committee focused on the applications of cutting edge technologies (including Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and portable braille) is being created to carry the grat momentum that was created in the recent Accessibility conference in Boston. Please stay tuned!
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Thanks so much for your time, interest and support which makes all of these programs possible!

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.