Helen Keller once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”. Doubly blessed are those who have both sight and vision and help to break the barriers to learning for the blind. Ms. Ranga Geetha of Millbury MA is one such visionary. Celebrating her 72nd birthday on 19th November, 2021, in a very special and meaningful way – by making a commitment to help improve the welfare of visually impaired students in a blind school in Madurai, India, by giving them the gift of technology and learning through her support of Vision-Aid’s Project Spring Board. Through her gift, Ms. Ranga Geetha is “adopting” one of the blind schools in Vision-Aid’s “Project Spring Board” network - St. Joseph's Blind School in Madurai, Tamil Nādu.
Vision-Aid has joined hands with Raised Line Foundation (RLF), a startup coming out of IIT-Delhi, to improve access to STEM education with tactile braille books for students with visual impairment. Currently most of the braille books available to blind students do not have diagrams and other rich content which makes science and math education more easily understandable and accessible to blind students.The new initiative introduces much improved, quality of STEM books with tactile diagrams and rich content and helps to level the playing ground for them to compete with their sighted counterparts in regular schools.
Vision-Aid Centers across India are celebrating Diwali this year by lighting up smart phones to brighten up the lives of the visually impaired.
Smart phone companies have poured a lot of money into creating very powerful technology in today's devices, and there are many sophisticated mobile apps freely available to the trained user which can have a life-changing impact on them. These apps range from AI-based apps which can help blind users see objects around them, to navigation apps which can help them navigate safely, as well as learning apps which can help them connect to a range of digital resources for learning and education. Through such apps, smart phones can become like constant personal companions helping to enable, educate and empower the blind and visually impaired to live with independence and dignity.
The Board of Directors of Vision-Aid, a Lexington, MA-based nonprofit organization, has appointed Puran Dang as Chairman Emeritus, a life-time position, and Veena Handa as Vice Chair of the Advisory Board for a term of five years, in recognition of their contributions to the cause of the visually impaired.
Months and months of hard work by Vision-Aid's students and their dedicated mentors are paying off.
- Four of Vision-Aid's visually impaired students have successfully cleared the Indian Banking Exam Prelims with flying colors. Two of these students are part of the Palakurthi Center at LVPEI. The other two are from the Maskati Scholarship program.
- Two students from the Vision-Aid Corporate Skills Development Program have secured jobs in leading private sector companies with competitive salaries.
Vision-Aid has entered into a collaboration with Smart Health Global Technologies (P) Ltd, Bengaluru and Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai to assemble a revolutionary new device called Smart Vision. This device uses Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision to help the visually impaired “see”.
The prototype of the Smart Vision has been already tested by Aravind Eye Hospital, (AEH) Madurai, LVPEI Hyderabad, and others and feedback given for improvements has been incorporated. Initial roll out of the product has begun.
The release of the 2nd Generation of the device with significant upgrades is planned in December 2021 in an event hosted by Aravind Eye Hospital in Chennai, co-sponsored by Vision-Aid, SHG and Rotary.
Vision-Aid scaled new heights in their 2021 annual event this year on August 1st. All prior records were broken. With over 1400 viewers tuning in from all over the US and other countries , a spectacular "Better than Broadway" production staged by an amazing team of talented Producer, Artistic directors and Volunteers Dancers, and generous support from donors, seamless efforts from a large team of volunteers - it all came together beautifully. Vision-Aid is grateful to each and every person who helped to make their annual event be such an amazing, grand success. The support ensures many valuable programs for the visually impaired in the coming year.
Vision-Aid is delighted to announce the election of its new President, Lalit Sudan who will assume office from July 1, 2021, for a term of five years. He replaces Syed Ali Rizvi who has served as President for the past 7 years and will stay as a Board Member.
The virtual graduation of Vision-Aid students from the Maskati scholarship program in Vizag, was a bright ray of hope and good cheer, in an otherwise very challenging time. Even though several Vision-Aid family members are seriously impacted by COVID, either directly or indirectly, everyone came together to celebrate this joyful, memorable and magical event, which helped us focus on positive things which we can continue to do despite the pandemic. Congratulations to all graduating students, and bravo to all team members who worked so hard despite being affected by the pandemic, for putting togehter this deeply inspiring event.
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.
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