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.
Despite his loss of vision, and tender age, he keeps proving every day that when one can face a disability with courage and perseverance , and if one has the right support systems, great possibilities can unfold. His numerous accomplishments even at such a young age include scoring 98% on the CBSE exam in a science and math stream, winning regional awards in quiz and debate teams, and most recently, over this past summer, getting selected by Cornell University for a scholarship for debate where he just landed the top prize.
After finishing his debate camp at Cornell, Bhavya was invited by his Vision-Aid mentor Sonal Patel to spend time with his Vision-Aid family here in Boston. Sonal Patel has been working with him long distance over the past year, guiding him in his learning journey. Along with the Vision-Aid courses, she is also helping him pursue higher studies on MOOC’s like edX and CourseEra , as part of Vision-Aid’s mentoring program., and also helping him visit local Boston area colleges to explore admissions options.
Vision-Aid organized a meet and greet event so that members in our local community could meet with Bhavya. It was an awesome evening indeed. Sonal introduced Bhavya, followed by an informal but very inspiring talk by young Bhavya who introduced himself to the audience with quiet confidence and ease. This was followed by a lively Q&A session and concluded with a cake cutting ceremony to celebrate Bhavya’s visit, and a short film screening about Vision-Aid.
During his talk and Q&A, Bhavya described , among other things, how participating in Vision-Aid’s programming course and the 2018 hackathon in IIIT Bangalore helped open up his world to many exciting possibilities in the area of information technology. He told the audience he felt very fortunate because he had been receiving so much support, and wished that many other visually impaired in India would also receive the same level of love and support that he had received over the years, to help him in his journey.
Yesterday’s event deeply inspired all of us who were present in the audience. Bhavya is a very special young man and we wish him all success in life. He is one of many visually impaired students who have participated in an advanced training course – Introduction to Programming in Python, offered by Vision-Aid in the Spring and Fall every year since 2016. We are currently working through the admissions process of the Fall Semester of 2018, and our dedicated volunteer team of around 15 experts in programming, is gearing up for a new batch of students coming into Vision-Aid in the Fall of 2018 . Interest in this course across India has been explosive and a very large number of applications have been flowing in almost every day for the past couple of weeks. We look forward to many more Bhavya’s emerging from our new batch of students and beyond.
We take this opportunity to thank all of you for being supportive of all the work Vision-Aid is doing. Every volunteer, donor and well-wisher are an integral member of the Vision-Aid family and enables us to empower talented students like Bhavya Shah realize their potential. Vision-Aid thanks Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare, our corporate sponsor for their unwavering support which makes such inclusive programs possible.