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An inspiring story of a charitable service in Visakhapatnam

Close your eyes, use other senses to live life for an hour, and you’ll realize how much we take the gift of sight for granted. While vision impairment often has no cure, the helplessness that comes with it can be tackled. Vision Aid Charitable Services in Visakhapatnam shows the way in the world of darkness.

With low vision or vision impairment often transferred genetically from the first to the third generation, the often untreatable condition hampers life right since childhood. Not only does it bring downgrades at school, it also brings down the person’s confidence. Dr. MS Raju understood the magnitude of this problem as he travelled the world, and compared the support that other nations are able to afford to the vision impaired, vis a vis India

. And so, in 2004, at the age of 70 years, he initiated a change that would bring in low-cost assistive technologies for them. Vision Aid was thus established.
He shares that in India many aren’t even aware that vision impairment can be a genetic problem without a cure. With training and technologies being expensive, and Braille being limited in usage, he decided to address the challenges. Computers are universal in usage, he shares, showing us how computer keyboards and dialpads on phones are actually equipped to be tactile sensory, something that many don’t know. Vision Aid trains students in using them. Not just this, students are taught to hone their other senses so that they can lead a life as independent as possible. Vision Aid is also one of the few in India to offer access technologies and assistive devices at low cost.

In the line of access technologies, the vision impaired are taught computer skills using audio assistance that reduces the margin of error. The low-cost assistive devices include magnifiers, object sensors, speaking calculators and even a camera mouse. Their innovations have even earned them recognition like the Nasscom finalist award for social innovations in 2011, RA Rockefeller award as best NPO in Southern India in 2010 and NCP Mphasis award in 2009 among others.

Today this NGO encourages those with low vision to join their classes at no fee. In fact, their teaching model allows a student to join at any point in time and for anyone hour slot during the day. They are however required to complete 55 one on one sessions at the center. For this, the organization also offers escort services.
Removing the obstacles that stand in the way of learning for the vision impaired, English language skills along with computers are imparted as well. Their helpline is open 24/7. With 20-30% of those they train getting jobs, some go for higher education while many benefits from browsing the Internet. From doing menial jobs, opportunities for these students are improving, and this not just enhances their performance but also boosts their confidence.

Along with creating assistive devices, Vision Aid also disseminates know how on handling vision impairment, with the material readily available for all those who wish to use it. Along with empowering students, they also hone teachers as the number of special teachers is still very low in the country.
Sharing that while the eye cannot be repaired, the helplessness of the visually impaired can be, this NGO shines a ray of hope in the world of darkness.

For details contact: Dr.S. Sam Kumar at 9885765115

This post was last modified on 10/03/2018 7:06 pm

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