On Tuesday, August 7th, Vision-Aid was delighted to host a very special event at the Lexington Community Center - a meet-and-greet event with one of our star students Bhavya Shah. Bhavya is 16 years old and lost his vision at a young age due to a retinal condition which could not be treated.
Vision-Aid to establish National Resource Center for the visually impaired at Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai
LEXINGTON, MA–Vision-Aid, a Lexington, MA-based non-profit organization with a mission to rehabilitate the visually impaired people in India, announced that it has entered into a partnership with Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, to establish a National Resource Center for the visually impaired at Aravind Eye Hospital.
Vision-Aid and I-Stem partner to offer Advanced Technical Training Programs for the Visually Impaired
Vision-Aid and iStem are joining forces to offer a range of advanced STEM training initiatives to the visually impaired!! Inclusive Stem (I-Stem) is a group of young persons who are blind or visually impaired from India pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.
Vision-Aid is just completing its Spring Semester course on Introduction to Computer programming for the visually impaired and we're delighted to share an update from one of our volunteer mentors, Santosh Vattam, about his experiences and perspectives.
Traditionally, blind or visually impaired students have always had to rely on scribes, someone who would read and write for them, to take exams. Students, often faced difficulty using scribes. The scribes were not trained and qualified. They would interpret and enter answers incorrectly, leaving the visually impaired students frustrated.
Vision-Aid’s Spring semester of programming classes is currently underway. There are 15 students enrolled from all over India, and an equal number of volunteer mentors experienced in teaching programming from both the US and India, in the 10-week long training.
This is the fourth such batch. The classes are progressing wonderfully.
Every year December 3rd is observed as the International Day of people with disability. On this occasion, this year, the Vision-Aid team was delighted to announce the launch of a new state-of-the art Vision-Aid Digital Resource Center in the city of Agra, India.
During the annual event in July 2017, Boston-based philanthropists Vandana and Vivek Sharma, generously pledged support to launch a new Vision-Aid Resource Center in their home-town of Agra. This set in motion a series of planning and implementation activities, which culminated, in just over 4 months, with the formal commissioning of the center. The new center is located on the premises of the Louis Braille Blind School in Agra.
While the Vision-Aid team in Massachusetts has been bustling with various activities, like the annual fundraiser program, Boston 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:
Here's an update about the 2017 Boston Accessibility conference. First a few testimonials from those who were there:
Testimonials: From Dr. Aparna Raghuram, who serves on our board and is a veteran speaker and participant at many national conferences: “It was a fantastic conference. I was wide eyes and listening ears the whole time. Very empowering."
Announcing the Panel for Empowering and Employing the Visually Impaired at Boston Accessibility Conference.
Panel: Empowering and Employing the Visually Impaired
Moderator: Karen Young, Speakers: Cheryl Cumings, Nicole Ross, Dr. Sonal Patel
This panel will examine how we can prepare the visually impaired to get relevant skills and good employment opportunities in today’s economy. The subject will be explored from 3 different perspectives: Educator, Employer and Clinician. Topics will include how to address challenges faced by the visually impaired in finding the right skills and jobs, experiences in teaching programming to the visually impaired, the use of MOOC’s to provide high quality, relevant skills and Vision Rehabilitation from a clinical perspective.
Our Space Our Place, a Vision-Aid partner, hosted a resource fair last week at Tobin Community Center in Boston. Our Space Our Place, a non-profit organization , offers an accessible and fun environment for visually impaired school students in the greater Boston area enabling them to participate in team sports, arts, community service and mentoring .
The fair, aptly named Explore Your HEART, is aimed to exhibit some of the accessibility resources available to the differently enabled residents of the New England area that would help them experience and enjoy the arts, music, literature and lead a healthy wholesome life.
In July, the Vision-Aid team in Vizag met Secretary & Correspondent Ms. Shireesha Latha and Principal Ms. Subbalakshmi of the Nethra Vidyalaya, school for the visually impaired, in Rishikonda. They developed a plan to schedule regular training programs.
Later that month Vision-Aid team members installed the Vision-Aid online teaching stations at Netravidyalaya – Rishikonda on 01/08/2017.
Meet the new Vision-Aid star students - Nishant and Bharat. They completed the Vision-Aid Python programming class, with flying colors, and have now also secured over 95% marks in the MIT programming course over edX, receiving formal MITx / edX certification. Congratulations, and way to go - Bharat and Nishant - we are very proud of your accomplishments. Congratulations also to their amazing mentor/teacher from Vision-Aid, Sonal Patel.
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