On April 19th, Vision-Aid announced the creation of a new center of excellence in partnership with the global leader in eye care, the L.V.Prasad Eye Institute. Support for this major new initiative comes from the Palakurthi Foundation of Massachusetts, USA, a philanthropic foundation created by Anuradha & Prashanth Palakurthi of Westwood, MA.
Vision-Aid would like to present short video from their new Sundara-Srinivasan Vision-Aid center at VHS Chennai. It shows a low vision student learning how to read with a portable Digital Vision-Aid magnifier.
Vision-Aid has assembled and offered these portable Digital Vision-Aid magnifiers to beneficiaries inIndia at a fraction of the cost of comparable models. Market prices range from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 30,000. Vision-Aid gives these magnifier sto low income patients at Rs. 500 and to affording patients at prices at a slightly higher price but much lower than the market rate. This has been only possible because of philanthropic support from Vision-Aid donors and well wishers.
Vision-Aid would like to invite you to this upcoming, important event. Hope you will be able to join us to congratulate and celebrate with many of Vision-Aid's visually impaired students, who are graduating from training programs in the The Lachman Dass Gupta Vision-Aid Center, in partnership with Shroff Charity Eye Hospital, Delhi. During the event, you would also have the pleasure of meeting with many of Vision-Aid's team members and colleagues from Shroff to understand the programs currently underway in Delhi.
Over the past several months, Vision-Aid's visually impaired students have been training in the Python training program (Intermediate level) and have been honing their coding skills by developing solutions for various real-life problems faced by the visually impaired. Working under the guidance of experienced volunteer Vision-Aid mentors, the students worked in teams that brainstormed and selected interesting problems to solve. They developed solutions using agile software development methodologies. The projects include the use of machine learning to recognize images for the visually impaired, converting text to speech, solving the indentation problem in writing Python programs and developing search and catalog keywords in various types of documents to make them more accessible.
The Indian Institute of Technology Association for Greater New England (IIT AGNE) in collaboration with Vision-Aid, is organizing a webinar on “Assistive Technology for Vision Impaired People”. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that there are more than 285 million visually-impaired people worldwide. Among them, there are 40 million vision impaired people who live in India. There is a strong passion, desire and need to develop assistive technology devices to support visually-impaired people to empower them to live their life with independence and dignity by improving the quality of their lives.
Vision Aid is happy to report that the new Srinivasan-Sundara Vision-Aid National resource centre (VA NRC) at the Voluntary Health Services (VHS) facility in Chennai, was inaugurated on February 1, 2021 evening at 5:00 p.m. by Dr Surendran, Vice Chairman of Sankara Nethralaya, who is an alumni of VHS. The function was very well organized by Vision-Aid partners and hosts (the VHS team).
Vision-Aid has partnered with Community Eye Care Foundation, (CECF) at Pune. As COVID slowly recedes, one of the first events that was organized was a large virtual session inviting all Ophthalmologists from Maharashtra to join in. The Opthamalmologists of Maharashta is a very large state-wide group with over 3,000 members. The idea was to publicize the importance of low vision and rehabilitation, an area which is generally not understood or supported well any where in India even in leading eye hospitals.
MediCircle is a leading Indian media organization, based in Mumbai, is focused on health and medicine. They recently interviewed Vision-Aid Founder and Executive Director, on the occasion of World Braille Day to discuss vision impairment, braille, accessibility and a range of other topics and published this short (~10 minutes) information-packed interview which is available both as a video and an article.
Please click the following link for the video Interview
To read the article please click the link below
Vision-Aid and VHS to establish a new National Resource Center for the Visually Impaired, in Chennai, India
Vision-Aid announced that it is partnering with Voluntary Health Services (VHS) to establish a new Vision-Aid National Resource Center in Chennai, India. The center will be named the Srinivasan-Sundara Vision-Aid National Resource center, in honor of Shri. Srinivasan Varadarajan and Sundara Srinivasan, parents of the generous supporters of this center, Venkat and Pratima Srinivasan, residents of the Greater Boston Area.
A meet and greet event with the Vision-Aid program at the Agra center was held on 18th Decemeber EST. This ceneter is run by Vision-Aid with the support from Vivek and Vandana Sharma foundation. The Agra center works with the local blinds schools and other organizations in Agra, India to offer a range of services to the visually impaired.
During the past year VIsion-Aid volunteers have been teaching blind and low vision students skills online during the COVID pandemic. People wonder understandably, how exactly such training works, and if this is really effective.
Please take a few minutes to watch this video to see close-up how visually impaired students are learning complex Excel skills online during COVID. This video is from the Vision-Aid Resource Center in Aravind Eye Hospital at Madurai. The conversation is in Tamil, and thanks to Vision-Aid volunteer Kavalapar, for adding English subtitles to make it accessible to all.
Vision-Aid's Python Program, one of its flagship technology training program for the visually impaired, is 100% volunteer driven. For the past four years, Vision-Aid has been teaching Python programming to the visually impaired, all over India.
Vision-Aid is getting ready to launch its new 2021 program, which includes programming classes for adults, advanced project-based mentoring for more advanced programming students, and a special program in collaboration with Indic-AI, a Delhi based NGO which partners with Vision-Aid to mentor young blind programmers.
Even though COVID still poses many challenges, Vision-Aid is already looking to brighter times are on their way. During this festive season, Vision-Aid would like to share with you some updates about programs in India. Several online programs are thriving, and in-person programs are gradually resuming across India, helping to bring light into the lives of the visually impaired we serve.
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