Vision-Aid has had a great start this year. Various programs have been rolled out in the field to help rehabilitate the visually impaired across our centers. The pictures below provide a glimpse of some the ongoing activities that have been successfully running by the love and support of our volunteers.
In the pictures below, you will see hands on computer training being conducted at one center. At another center, you will see vision impaired job aspirants being trained and counseled.
We have a well equipped Central Teaching Station at Vizag, where computer lessons are conducted over Skype. You also see students attending these computer training lessons over Skype, at another center.
Vision-Aid strives to use training techniques most suitable to the candidate and his role. As part of the training, the sighted teachers are blindfolded while undergoing computer training. This helps them better understand the limitations and requirements of their vision impaired students and be more effective teachers. People with low vision are trained using contrast screens to help them see better. Retinitis Pigmentosa patients are trained using white on black screens.
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.
Shroff Charitable Eye Hospital was established by Dr. Sorabji P Shroff in 1914. The current operational hospital is in Daryaganj, New Delhi. It was inaugrated in 1927. Dr. Shroff's third generation of eye surgeons are actively involved in the SCEH. Shroff Hospitals have over 100,000 patient visiting it per year and about 10,000 surgeries are conducted there annually. They have eye clinics in several locations. It was a significant moment when Vision-Aid entered into an agreement with SCEH expanding its reach into Northern India.
Various Vision-Aids teams on the ground are doing some incredible work. In just the second quarter of 2019, Vision-Aid offered a total of 684 interventions to the visually impaired across its programs in 10 locations and online. Some highlights of Vision-Aid's work on the ground are listed below:
Periodically Vision-Aid reports the work done in the field. Those are just the numbers, but behind each of these numbers are stories of amazing individuals who inspire the team at Vision-Aid to continue the work they do.
The story of Aarush
Aarush is a young student in Vision-Aid's programming course. Heis a junior from New Delhi, with a passion for coding. He has no sight, but that does not stop him from pursuing his dreams. He is currently studying in 10th grade and has many hobbies beside coding. He is an avid writer. He writes for his school magazine. He loves to sing and meditates regularly.
For those of you who could not attend the recent annual event and even for those who did and want to relive the evening, Vision-Aid is happy to share a few memorable, magical moments captured in two short videos.
While the Vision-Aid team in Boston was focused on the mega annual event, a wonderful new Vision-Aid program was taking birth, halfway around the world, in Vizag India. On Monday July 22nd, the first batch of Vision-Aid Maskati Scholars arrived at Vizag from nearby areas and began their six-month long journey to acquire new skills, in the residential training program in Vizag.
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.
Here is an update from the Vision-Aid National Resource Center at Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai. The Aravind team and their commitment to providing the highest quality care with compassion and commitment, is beyond amazing.
The Vision-Aid team is proud to share the success story of Nibin Mathew, whose dedication and determination is an inspiration.
A chain of life-changing events has fuelled Nibin's efforts to spread his technical training to the visually challenged from his region in Wayanad, Kerala. Born into an agricultural community in Wayanad, Nibin had lost his vision to glaucoma in 2012. He underwent several eye-surgeries at the Aravindh Eye Hospital Coimbatore, gaining limited vision. Due to lack of adequate support for STEM education(Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) after the tenth grade, Nibin pursued study in the field business and finance till twelfth grade. He obatined bachelors degree in arts and humanities thereafter.
May 30th 2019 was a very special day for the Vision-Aid famiy. Ramkrishna Raju, the founder and Executive Director of Vision-Aid received the Derek Bok Public Service Prize for 2019. The Derek Bok Public Service Prizes are very prestigious awards given at Harvard University's Commencement each year to graduating studetns from the Harvard Extension School. It carries a medal, a citation and a cash prize of $3000. The award recognizes creative initiatives in community service or long-standing records of civic achievement.
In January 2019, Vision-Aid and Sankara Nethralaya (SN) launched a resource center at SN’s Shenoy Nagar campus in Chennai. After initial setup and preparations, the resource center started seeing patients in March. In just the month of March, the center has served 43 people with significant visual impairment including some with multiple disabilities.
The beneficiaries of this program are people of all ages. Infant, young children and adults receive counselling, educational guidance, training in orientation and mobility. They are taught independent life skills like usage of assistive software and mobile technologies. Early intervention and vision developmental therapy is also part of the services.
Vision-Aid is extremely proud to announce that our co-founder and Vice President, Revathy Ramakrishna, has been chosen as the Woman of the Year 2019. The award was judged by a panel of nine independent judges. Revathy was presented with the award on Friday 17th May 2019 at the Annual Woman of the Year Awards gala held at Burlington Marriott Hotel in Burlington, MA.