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.
Vision-Aid had started a path breaking course on Digital Accessibility Testing Training earlier this year. Students completed their 16-week journey and graduated on 13th December 2019.
The accomplishment was huge for considering the duration of the course. Some of the highlights of the course are listed below:
- Deque University Web Accessibility specialist course, considered the international gold standard in the field, was followed.
- The training was conducted by Ashwin and Bhargav. Ashwin has low vision, Bhargav is totally visually impaired.
Aditi Shah, one of Vision-Aid's former student in the programming course, graduated from Georgia Institute of Technology with a Masters degree in Computer Science and Cyber Security. Beyond being a former student of Vision-Aid, she has many connections with Vision-Aid family. Sonal Patel , her mentor at Vision-Aid continues to be Aditi's mentor even today. Prof Santosh Vempala of Georgia Tech, who serves on the board of Vision-Aid has also been her mentor and guide there for the past 1.5 years. He and his family have been with Aditi on her journey with their love and support.
Vision-Aid is thrilled to annonce the establishment of Vision-Aid National Resource Center in Delhi. This was made possible by Boston Natives Ram and Meetu Gupta. This resource center will be fully functional by January 2020. The resource center will serve the visually impaired population of Delhi and surrounding area. The center will provide a comprehensive range of services and devices for the visually impaired and will aim to enable, educate and empower the visually impaired in the area.
Every year, I-Stem, IIIT Bangalore, Vision Aid, Vision Empower and XRCVC bring participants with and without disabilities to code/hack on high-impact projects and learn from each other. With over 150 participants, 7 universities and 11 corporates having participated in the two sessions of the hackathon in 2018 and 2019. Vision-Aid is excited to extend invitation on behalf of Inclusive Stem Confluence 2020 organizing team. The Inclusive Stem Confluence 2020 Hackathon comes to you in an expanded format. The event is divided into three tracks.
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