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Inclusive STEM Hackathon 2019

The Inclusive STEM Hackathon is a 24-hour hackathon where visually impaired coders and software developers, industry professionals, and engineering students come together to work on exciting and challenging projects.

This years Inclusive STEM Hackathon began on 17th January and ended on 19th January, on the campus of IIIT Bangalore. Organizers of the event included IIIT Bangalore, I-Stem, Vision-Aid, Vision Empower Trust and The Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged.

The event was widey covered byl Indian media

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Vision-Aid programs at Lui Braille Blind School Agra

An update from our Spoken English Classes in Agra

Vision-Aid has been working with the Lui Braille Blind School in Agra, India on a range of projects. One of these projects is a spoken English program. The classes are taught in a blended model, with the primary instruction happening virtually with one hour long classes every day, and one local assistant teacher who helps to reinforce concepts. The progress we have seen from our students has been remarkable and inspiring!

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Group at workshop

Vision-Aid's Workshop on Innovations in Mobile and Braille Technologies A Success

Vision-Aid held a workshop, in collaboration with it's partner, Youth4Jobs on Innovations in Mobile and Braille Technologies for the visually impaired in Bengaluru on 20th January 2019. The instructors Balaji, Justin and Manjunatha provided insights on various topics. Many trainers from Vision-Aid's partner organizations including Youth4Jobs, Samarthanam, Nethra, Aravind, Sankara Nethralaya and others attended the workshop. The knowledge and skills acquired by the participating trainers will ripple through to many others in coming months.

 

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Spoken English Classes At Ahmadi Blind School, Aligarh

Exciting new initiatives at Vision-Aid: Spoken English Classes at Agra and Aligarh

In 2017, Vision-Aid introduced Spoken English as one of the key programs in our model. We quickly realized that while many organizations teach spoken English, the materials and methods rely heavily on visual cues which do not work for the visually impaired students. So we set out to design a custom training program in spoken English for the visually impaired that can reach visually impaired students in all settings rural and urban.

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Panel at Conference - from left to right - Dr. Chuck , Aditi, Kartik, Keith, Ram

Boston Accessibility Conference shines a bright light on accessibility

The Boston Accessibility Conference was held on last Saturday October 27th at the Fidelity Offices in downtown Boston, MA. Vision-Aid co-sponsored the conference and hosted a panel "Making MOOCs more accessible to the visually impaired" and an information session on "The Vision-Aid Model”. Vision-Aid sincerely thanks our corporate sponsors Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare for their financial support which made this event possible. We are working on making the videos available soon. Please stay tuned!

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Computer Programming Classes for the Visually Disadvantaged

Vision-Aid is running several exciting new initiatives to teach computer programming to the visually impaired – both in India and in the Boston area.

 

Current programs include:

 

Python programming classes

 

Vision-Aid is back with an exciting program to teach Python programming.  After successfully completing a pilot for teaching computer programming for the visually impaired in 2016, we are thrilled to offer an even more comprehensive program in 2017. 

 

The Vision-Aid program uses material provided by Dr. Charles "Chuck" Russell Severance, Associate Professor the University of Michigan. We are profoundly grateful to Dr. Chuck , the University of Michigan and Coursera. Our visually impaired students who learn programming   from his highly accessible, universally popular course “Programing for Everyone” taught via CoureEra, which is rated by Class Central to be one of the top 20 MOOCs in the world!

 

The program will run for 9 months in three sessions – beginner, intermediate, advanced. Each session will be 12 weeks long. During this program, the students will be introduced to computer science and programming concepts using Python, one of the most popular languages for getting started with computer programming.  

 

No prior computer programming experience is necessary but certain pre-requisites do apply. Vision-Aid will conduct an assessment and enroll students at the appropriate level. 


Students in this Vision-Aid program will learn from the experts in the field using the best online learning resources. The classes will be offered over Skype. Each student will be paired with a teacher who will work with the student to guide them through the course material.

 

Vision-Aid is pleased to offer this course free of cost to the students. However, each admitted student will be expected to pay an advance deposit of Rs. 500. If the student attends classes regularly and completes the 12-week module, the deposit will be fully refunded. The purpose of the deposit is to encourage students to stay committed to the course and complete it. There is no minimum passing grade required for the refund – we only expect regular and sincere participation to be eligible for the full refund. 

 

We believe in training the students so they can be lifelong learners, and reach their highest potential. We encourage and guide our students to participate in Hackathons such as the Shaastra, IIT Madras Tech Festival in Chennai.   Students, who complete the course, will be eligible to participate in a hackathon for the visually impaired, at the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai (all travel and lodging expenses will be taken care of). Vision-Aid will also provide scholarships to qualified students, to cover the cost of completing certification for a programming course online from MIT.  (For a short film about the 2017 hackathon in IIT, please click on the link below)

 

https://vimeo.com/207227443

 

 

A call for volunteers

 

 If you know Python programming and want to teach or assist in this existing program, please send us an email with your resume, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

HTML / Web programming workshop in Boston

 

Vision-Aid is excited to announce that in partnership with Our Space, Our Place - a Boston based nonprofit, we will be supporting a one week programming workshop for blind students from the Boston (and other regional) public school systems.

The coding camp will take place from July 10 – 14 in Microsoft’s NERD center in Cambridge, MA. It will run from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM daily.

The visually impaired students in the class will be 14-21 years in age. Most of them enter the class with no prior knowledge of HTML/CSS, and will leave the week-long workshop with the skills and tools they need to build their own web sites.

We need a few volunteers skilled in HTML & CSS to support this class, as teaching assistants (TA’s) to support the class. Prior experience in teaching the visually impaired (via other Vision-Aid courses, or otherwise) is desirable but not required. Experience in HTML/CSS, and the required time commitment for this workshop are the key requirements.

If interested, please fill in the application below ASAP and no later than May 22nd.

For more details about the workshop and Our Space Our Place, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we’ll be happy to send these over.

Finally, if you know of visually impaired students who live in the Boston area, who might be interested in participating in the course, please have them contact us and we'd be happy to introduce them to Our Space, Our Place for possible enrollment into this program. (They can send email inquiries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

https://docs.google.com/…/1FAIpQLSfLPtGtao11eGajH…/viewform…

 

 

 

 

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Thank you Dr. Chuck, University of Michigan and Coursera!

The Vision-Aid team was honored and delighted to present a memento, as a token of our deep appreciation and affection for Dr. Chuck, a legendary Coursera educator from the University of Michigan who is visiting India currently. Ms. Jayanthi, Program Coordinator for Vision-Aid’s programming course had a delightful meeting with Dr. Chuck, and expressed sincere thanks to him on behalf of all our visually impaired students who learn programming from his highly accessible, universally popular course “Programing for Everyone” taught via Coureera, which is rated by Class Central to be one of the top 20 MOOCs in the world!

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Vision-Aid rolls out programming course for Juniors at Nethra Blind School Hyderabad

Vision-Aid volunteers Sulochana Devadas and Sonal Patel teamed up for several months to design an entry level programming course for our visually impaired students that could help address the needs of our youngest students (typical age is 14 - 18). After an initial online-only rollout, which was successfully run for 6 months with these   students, the course has taken its next steps – for the first time being taught in a blind school setting in India at Nethra Vidyalaya near Hyderabad. 

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