Vision-Aid is set to launch it's Virtual Digital Accessibility Testing and Training Centre (DATTC). This important new initiative is being made possible by the generous donation of Ms. Sundari and Mr Samir Mitra of California USA, in the honor of Ms. Sundari Mitra’s parents, Sri Vissa Sahadev Rao and Smt. Kamala Sahadev of Bengaluru, India.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at the Vision-Aid Resource Center at Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai has started online therapy session for children with special needs. Since In-hospital visits pose a significant risk of infection, and considering the vulnerable immune system of these children the Aravind team had to stop office-based therapy for such patients until conditions improve.
After the initial onset of the pandemic, and services had to be stopped abruptly, the team found that stopping services to the kids led to regression in vision and overall development in many young children who would normally have received in-hospital services. This raised apprehension among parents who began to request the Aravind team to find some way to help their affected children.
Teaching Spoken English skills to blind and visually impaired students is one of the core programs in the Vision-Aid model. Teaching English to the visually impaired requires special considerations. The primary one is that teachers cannot use “visual cues” to teach students. Most of the traditional Spoken English training relies heavily on visual cues (showing someone a picture of an object, place or person and using the picture as a teaching aid. Sighted students can also use reading and writing as a support to improve conversation and speaking.
Due to the pandemic our new Lachman Dass Gupta Vision-Aid center at Delhi, still continues to be on pause as our partner Shroff Charity Eye Hospital, is still operating on emergency mode only. However, just prior to pausing services due to the pandemic, they were already actively serving many visually impaired persons. Here are two reports sent to us by them which can help us understand the type of impact the center is already having in its early days.
It is said that “leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality” and thus was the life, journey and legacy of Dr. R.S.Ayyar, former Dean of IIT Bombay. Dr. R.S. Ayyar, passed away on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 in San Jose, CA. He was 87 years old. He is survived by his wife, Parvathy, daughters Ranjani and Jayashree, his sons-in-law, Anil Saigal and Ganapathy Kumar, and his three grandchildren, Amrita, Arun and Meena.
Ram and Meetu Gupta of Carlisle, MA have decided to dedicate a new resource center to the memory of Ram Gupta’s late father Shri Lachhman Das Gupta, who passed away on October 10, 2019.Shri Lachhman Das Gupta was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, when he started losing his eyesight at the age of 30, and was nearly blind by the age of 50. He was blind most of his life yet he had a strong sense of social responsibility, empathy for others, and a deep sense of understanding for people around him.
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.
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