In 2018, Vision-Aid formed a partnership with Aravind Eye Hospitals in Madurai. In January of 2019 the Vision-Aid resource center was formally launched at Aravind Hospital. Some great work has since been done at the resource center since then. Here are some hightlights of the latest strides made at the center.
Bhargav and Pranav are two of the early blind students of Vision-Aid Python Programming course. Bhargav is now also an instructor. They recently attended the Pycon National Confernce in Chennai. PyCon is the largest annual gathering for the Python programming community that uses and develops the open-source Python programming language.
Vision-Aid runs many programs which help train school teachers to become more inclusive in their classrooms that enables them to support better learning outcomes for their visually impaired students.
The Vision-Aid team is pleased to introduce some of the students from the first class of their new, path-breaking technical training course on Digital Accessibility Testing which was launched on 17th August 2019.
Vision-Aid Board member, Dr. Bharti Gangwani, visited Vision-Aid partner Blind Peoples Association, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. BPA is a network of 26 blind schools in Gujarat with about 3000 children. BPA has about 220 students in their school in the main campus, which Bharti visited. The overall estimate of visual impairment is about 0.5% in general population in Ahmedabad.
Bharti met with Mr Bhushan Purnani, Executive secretary of BPA, an IIM-A graduate and Ranchod Soni, English teacher, technical teacher who is visually impaired along with Vidhi who is a helper to Mr. Ranchod Soni. Bharti said "I was very impressed with their passion and commitment to service." All the Vision-Aid programs were discussed at length. Bharti provided a detailed report about various aspect of the partnership.
22nd July 2019 was a momentous day at Vision-Aid Center Visakhapatnam. Seven visually impaired individual began an exciting journey that would enable, educate and empower them for the sighed world. A generous donor who wanted to honour her parent’s memory created a scholarship program, in the form of an endowment fund, called The Dr Badar and Mariam Maskati Scholarship program. The program began a month ago. Scholars have started settling in, along with the staff, who had quickly designed and implemented the new program. Here is a glance at what a typical day looks like for our Vision-Aid scholars!
The Vision-Aid leadership team had a productive meeting with the leadership team at Perkins School for the Blind, Boston. The meeting was to discuss ways to collaborate and work togehter in India.
Perkins is an iconic institution which serves approximately 200 students on campus and many children with special needs through training. It offers services via regional public school systems. Perkins International impacts the lives of thousands of disabled children in 67 countries. Perkins Solutions, offers innovative assistive technology products and training to the visually impaired.
Shroff Charitable Eye Hospital was established by Dr. Sorabji P Shroff in 1914. The current operational hospital is in Daryaganj, New Delhi. It was inaugrated in 1927. Dr. Shroff's third generation of eye surgeons are actively involved in the SCEH. Shroff Hospitals have over 100,000 patient visiting it per year and about 10,000 surgeries are conducted there annually. They have eye clinics in several locations. It was a significant moment when Vision-Aid entered into an agreement with SCEH expanding its reach into Northern India.
Various Vision-Aids teams on the ground are doing some incredible work. In just the second quarter of 2019, Vision-Aid offered a total of 684 interventions to the visually impaired across its programs in 10 locations and online. Some highlights of Vision-Aid's work on the ground are listed below:
Periodically Vision-Aid reports the work done in the field. Those are just the numbers, but behind each of these numbers are stories of amazing individuals who inspire the team at Vision-Aid to continue the work they do.
The story of Aarush
Aarush is a young student in Vision-Aid's programming course. Heis a junior from New Delhi, with a passion for coding. He has no sight, but that does not stop him from pursuing his dreams. He is currently studying in 10th grade and has many hobbies beside coding. He is an avid writer. He writes for his school magazine. He loves to sing and meditates regularly.
For those of you who could not attend the recent annual event and even for those who did and want to relive the evening, Vision-Aid is happy to share a few memorable, magical moments captured in two short videos.
While the Vision-Aid team in Boston was focused on the mega annual event, a wonderful new Vision-Aid program was taking birth, halfway around the world, in Vizag India. On Monday July 22nd, the first batch of Vision-Aid Maskati Scholars arrived at Vizag from nearby areas and began their six-month long journey to acquire new skills, in the residential training program in Vizag.
Warm 4th of July greetings from the Vision-Aid team.
While carrying out our mission of enabling, educating and empowering the visually impaired, we strive to spread our services to have as a wide impact as possible with the available resources and so there is always a focus on the numbers and metrics. But in the end, what motivates many of us in the team is the inspiring individual stories behind these numbers.
Below, we share with you both the numbers (for the first quarter of 2019) and a very inspiring story which we selected from amongst many such stories. We hope you enjoy reading about the story of Ankit – most of which is told by him in a letter to us.
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