Vision-Aid, announced its new leadership team for 2020-21. This year’s leadership team, in addition to its 15-member Board of Directors and 10-member Board of Advisors adds a new body – the Council of Ambassadors, which will provide leadership in the area of community engagement, inclusion and advocacy, with a special focus on youth. The team includes an eminently qualified and diverse range of members drawn from a wide range of fields, including Ophthalmology, Optometry, Occupational Therapy, Finance, Technology, Health, Management, Academia and Law. Notably, 17 of the 28 members in the leadership team are women.
Vision-Aid's online "Best Practices" webinar series to celebrate the Vision 2020 program continues to be on a roll! Topics focusing on several important areas in the field of Vision Impairment, Low Vision and Vision Rehabilitation bring together experts from many locations arund the world to offer best practices in these different domains. Schedule: The series began in April and will run through June, 2020.
When we started we had fewer than 25 registrations and now we are happy to have over 500 registered from 175 different organizations and 15 countries. May this viral spread of learning continueto flourish!
Here are some of the upcoming sessions. Please stay tuned for more! All sessions will be online and free but registration is required! Meeting links will be sent to those who register. So please register soon!
Jeyanthi Ghatraju is a Vision-Aid ambassador and an active member in the Boston Vision-Aid community. She and her son Pranav visited Vision-Aid’s National Resource Center at Aravind eye hospital, Madurai on Jan. 30, 2020. "It was heart warming for me just as I walked in", said Jeyanthi . Some forty years ago, her aunt was one of the patients having lost vision as a young teenager to a mysterious fever. At that point, the family decided to avail the resources available and give her rehabilitation to live a life of dignity and self respect, it brought back memories.
What is Vision-Aid doing during COVID-19?
At this time, Vision-Aid centers in India, have paused physical, in-person services like most of the country. Where possible, a majority of the team members are working from home and productively engaging themselves in online programs, training and curriculum development. Some of their endeavors are highlighted below:
A milestone week ended at Vision-Aid Vizag last Saturday. Vision-Aid partners from four locations in India convened for a week-long specialized training program. This Partner Training program (PTP) saw team members from Delhi, Agra, Pune and Berhampur (8 in total). 5 of them stayed in Vizag for the full week, and 3 of them also visited Vision-Aid’s partner Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai.
We are delighted that the wonderful teams from SCEH (Shroff Charity Eye Hospital), Vision-Aid India, Vision-Aid USA, and Gyaanmantra, our tech partner worked together to set up the VA-SCEH first phase of the Vision-Aid Resource Center and finally on 12th February 2020, our class on Basic Computer Literacy was started.
Mr Reddi Krishna is one of the students admitted, after three a level screening, into the Vision-Aid Maskati Scholarship. This scholarship was constituted by Ms. Loubaina Buxamusa of Massachusetts (MA), in the loving memory of her late parents’ Dr Badam and Mariam Maskati. The Scholarship Training program (STP) under this fund commenced on July 2019 and will end on 15th February 2020. The training includes intensive instructiion in Computer Operation, Spoken English , Mobile Application and coaching for competitive exams.
“Inclusive STEM Confluence” is a very unique, one of a kind event, organized by five organizations – I-STEM, IIIT-B, Vision-Aid, Vision Empower and XRCVC. It has has three components. The center-piece is an inclusive hackathon that brings together visually impaired coders with software engineers from the Industry and students from IIIT and other colleges to code on exciting projects in a 24-hour hackathon setting. Confluence also includes a series of hi-tech workshops where visually impaired can learn about latest technical concepts like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Blockchain. It also has an Employer Connect Program which connects them with top Employers.
Vision-Aid is proud to report that it's successful collaboration with Sankara Nethralya, Chennai is having a impact on the community. Vision-Aid’s collaboration with the Low Vision Clinic at Sankara Nethralaya/Medical Research Foundation started in July 2017. The goal was to provide free and subsidized low vision devices to the visually impaired “non-paying” patients.
Vision-Aid launched its first center 15 years ago. This center has become the flagship for Vision-Aid efforts all over India. Ramakrishna and Revathy Raju had opportunity to visit Vizag to meet with the Vision-Aid family there to celebrate many major milestones. There were many things to celebrate in Vizag this year, the launch of Vision-Aid's first residential scholarship program, the launch of Vision-aid's extension center and much more.
The year 2020 started with a bang from Vision-Aid. A new Vision-Aid Center in Pune India was announced by Ramakrishna and Revathy Raju while they were visiting Pune. Pune, called “The Queen of the Deccan” is one of the major cities in the state of Maharashtra, India. It is a comparatively smaller sized city having a pleasant vibe, and less daunting than bigger tier 1 metros like Chennai and Bangalore. The weather is mild and the city has many interesting historic landmarks. Ram and Revathy visited Pune with the main purpose of identifying a location for a new Vision-Aid center . This center will serve the needs of not only the Punekars, as residents of Pune are known, but all of the surrounding regions in Western Maharashtra.
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.
Vision-Aid founder Revathy and Ramakrishna Raju are on their annual visit to the various Vision-Aid Centers in India. Their first stop was Vision-Aid's Center at Sankara Netralaya in Chennai. This relatively new center which was just inaugurated a year ago during their last visit, has taken off very well. They had the wonderful opportunity to meet with the staff and discuss ongoing work and new , upcoming initiatives.
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