Vision-Aid: A Memorable Picnic in Bangalore
In any non profit, the quantitative impact made is important i.e. evaluating how many people are served, how much it costs, etc. Equally important, or perhaps more inspiring on a personal level, are the stories of the individuals behind the numbers. In Bangalore, Vision-Aid founds Ramakrishna and Revathy Raju had the opportunity to learn about some of these stories. They met with many of Vision-Aid's visually impaired students, along with interns and staff. The meeting was in a lovely setting, a picnic at Cubbon park. Ram and Revathy got to know each of them, a little better as inspiring individuals that they are and not just another name in a list.
Bangalore has organically become the hub for Vision-Aid's advanced technical training programs. Around 3 years ago Vision-Aid started training programs in Python, for the visually impaired, for the first time in India. Many of the volunteers and students happened to be from Bangalore. Earlier this year, Vision-Aid started their new program on Digital Accessibility Testing. Unsurprisingly the core team of trainers as well as several students hail from Bangalore.
Several of them joined Ram and Revathy for a memorable get-together at Cubbon park, where a picnic was organized, with around 20 of Vision-Aid's blind students, interns and several team members joining the fun, including Jayanthi , Senior Program Manager, from Hyderabad and V.L.Narashimhan, who leads the India efforts as Member Secretary of Vision-Aid India, from Chennai.
Every participant shared their personal stories with the founders of Vision-Aid. The conversation threw light on certain interesting facts like Ruby, one of Vision-Aid's blind students is a piano teacher. Nibin Matthews, another visually impaired student, who is now pursuing an engineering degree at IIITB with a scholarship from his Vision-Aid mentor, is an expert violin player. Aruna another student from the Accessibility course is learning to dance from her four year old!
The stories went on - each one revealing a unique human being, trying to make their own mark on the world. Pranav, Vision-Aid's youngest bubbly 8th grader, a passionate coder and currently doing MIT’s edX CS 50 course on Introduction to Computers, also loves track and running and wishes he had more time to spend on coding while juggling school work....
A common theme among all participants was a sense of gratitude for this newly formed community around Vision-Aid. Many of the participants shared how special it was for them to be part of not only the Vision-Aid programs but to go beyond that to find a real community of friends, supporters and well wishers for life. They pledged to stay as engaged members.
A few rounds of fun games was organized by Ramya Raju, Ram and Revathy's daughter, who is training to become an Occupational Therapist and enjoys being part of inclusive events.