A Visit to Vision-Aid's Flagship Center at Vizag
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.
Meeting the first batch of Vision-Aid Scholars
Ram and Revathy's first set of meetings was at the LB college campus center, where the first batch of Vision-Aid Maskati scholars are undergoing their training. They had a chance to interact with each of them and hear about their journeys. The picture which emerged was consistent. Each of the scholars had made good strides since they entered the scholarship program on July 22nd. Most of them had never touched a computer before, knew little to no English and had not owned a smart phone. Six months into the program, all of them are proficient in basic computer usage, own their own smart phone and are enthusiastically learning how to use it, and have attained good proficiency in spoken English. Beyond this, they are having daily coaching in Banking and Government Competitive Exams from a professional coaching institute. They have a busy, packed schedule every day that begins with Yoga and keeps them fully engaged with learning. The feeling of deep appreciation and gratitude was evident. Each of these scholars realizes that this is a wonderful opportunity and are trying to make the most of it. Rama and Revathy also had the pleasure of meeting Anshuman Agarwal, newly hired Senior Program Manager for Vision-Aid's Delhi project who was in Vizag on training that week.
Inaugurating extension center at Ba Ba Pu Bhavan
With the addition of the residential scholarship programs, space has become a constraint at the existing LB college center, so the Vizag team is expanding to a new extension center at Ba Ba Pu Bhavan, in Dwarkanagar Vizag. The new space is already ready for use, and will continue to be expanded this year with more capabilities to handle the demand from students who are not residential scholars. At this time, the extension center has been funded largely by the Rotary Club of Waltair, and other local donors, including CSR support. The President of the local Rotary club was invited to do the ribbon cutting.
Visit to Nethra Blind School
Ram and Revathy visited Nethra Blind School in Rishikonda, which is in the outskirts of Vizag. Vision-Aid has been working with this school for several years, helping them to build capacity and add new programs. A huge step forward this year was the addition of a new high speed internet connection and four new computers, all provided by Vision-Aid. The school principal informed Ram that this has been a game-changer for them. In addition, Vision-Aid helps the school run training programs in Spoken English , Computer Applications and Music training. Ram and Revathy had the pleasure of observing a live Spoken English class during their trip. The class is run in hybrid model with the central instructor, one of Vision-Aid's spoken English faculty, driving the course virtually with the help of two assistant teachers locally. They also met with the students from the computer class and administered an impromptu quiz which they passed in flying colors and enjoyed a beautiful song from the music class.