Copy
SCOREBOARD
Apr-Jun 2015
Volume 4, Issue 2, Apr-Jun 2015

Score Foundation is a New Delhi based not-for-profit organisation that runs the project Eyeway—a single stop knowledge resource for living life with blindness.

We’re scaling up!


Eyeway has been disseminating information on living life with blindness for more than ten years now. And we’re happy that we have been able to reach out to thousands of people across the length and the breadth of the country in this time. However, we are also aware that in a country like India that’s just a drop in the ocean, given the huge numbers and vast diversity!
 
We’ve been mulling over this challenge for some time now. We need to reach out to a wider population with cultural and regional relevance and financial efficiency. Neither a significant amount of increase in the manpower nor setting up more helpdesks across the country would be financially viable for an organisation like ours.
 
Thus, with support from government and organisations like the Hans Foundation and Essel Foundation, we are now scaling up through building Eyeway as a network. This will be a collaboration amongst like minded organisations from across the country who will come together to gather information, take phone calls in the language of the callers and take up advocacy at the regional levels.  We are aiming to start with 6 partners in the first year, 12 in the second year, and 20 in the third! Government has already approved part funding for this project. We are in the process of signing an MoU with the Hans Foundation, too.
 
With this network in place, a visually impaired person from any part of the country will be able to talk to a helpdesk counsellor in his or her local language, as well as get locally relevant solutions.
 
It is envisioned that in the next two to three years, the responsibility of managing, sustaining, and building Eyeway as a resource for blind and visually impaired people in the country would be shared.

Eyeway Helpdesk

 
Our helpdesk received calls from 143 people in the last quarter, who asked 256 queries about assistive technology, employment, education, banking facilities, marriage and relationship, acts and policies, competitive exams, training, transport, advocacy, and sports. The helpdesk team also saw some changes with Neha Jain moving on and Devashish Bhargav joining the team.

Stories from Helpdesk


Prateek Jindal

Prateek Jindal from Faridabad, a visually impaired 15-year-old, cleared class 8 from Haryana board scoring 80 percent marks. But while Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) exempts visually impaired students from studying mathematics class 9 onwards, Haryana board doesn’t provide any such exemption. Being a good student in all the subjects except mathematics, he wanted to switch over to CBSE.
 
He had seen our TV show Nazar Ya Nazariya when it was aired on national television, and got to know about the Eyeway helpdesk. So he called our helpdesk asking for a copy of CBSE’s circular about the exemption. Armed with the circular, he approached Dronacharya Public School, located near his place, for admission. But the school denied him admission arguing that given his complete blindness, he will not be able to do project work and class activities. And also that without mathematics he cannot be fitted in as all their students had opted for mathematics.
 
When the school authorities didn’t yield to his request after several visits, even though he took his special educator along, then he reported the matter to us. We wrote to the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, and to the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) informing them of Prateek’s plight. The CCPD’s office then directed the case to the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (SCPD), Chandigarh, who wrote to the school asking for an explanation.
 
The school immediately wrote to us, the SCPD Chandigarh, and CBSE, stating that they didn’t deny admission to Prateek on grounds of disability, but due to the fact that they are not aware of the ways to accommodate a blind student.
 
In the last week of June Prateek was called to the school to complete the admission formalities and has started attending classes from 1 July. The school has also allowed his special educator to accompany him and assist him as per his needs.
 
While we are happy with the outcome, we have also advised Prateek not to ignore mathematics completely and continue working on his shortcomings in the subject through private tuitions because he will have to face mathematical questions in competitive exams in future, if he aspires for a government job.
 

Pappu Kushwaha

Visually impaired people, like many other persons with disabilities, face a harrowing time doing the simplest of chores in India, be it booking a train ticket or travelling by the train. What Pappu Kushwaha, one of our regular callers, had to go through, was by no means a one-off incident. First he had to face trouble buying a train ticket, and then while travelling, he was threatened by the ticket examiner to be offloaded at the middle of the night in spite of having a valid ticket.
Click here to read about the problems Pappu faced, and how he dealt with them.
 

Dinesh and Nirmala

When Dinesh and Nirmala, a visually impaired married couple, approached the State Bank of India (SBI) for a personal loan, their application wasn’t processed primarily because of their visual impairment. We weren’t really surprised on being apprised of the situation as over the years we have regularly encountered cases of banks denying services to visually impaired people. What did surprise us, however, was the prompt action taken by the chairperson of SBI on our written complaint.
Click here to read about Dinesh and Nirmala’s struggle to avail banking facilities, and SBI chairperson’s role in facilitating the process.

Advocacy

 
We received a call from Deepak Singla from Chandigarh regarding the inaccessibility of the Employment News website. Now, the Employment News is a very important publication for all job seekers, especially for public sector jobs, and people with visual impairment are no exception. And since the printed copy is not accessible to them, they rely heavily on the website to get information about the latest job openings. Considering the gravity of this issue, we had filed a case in the office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, and subsequent to their directive to the ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the ministry responded that they are taking into account accessibility needs of people with vision impairment, and will be revamping their website to make it accessible.

Skill Development Programme: The Way Forward

 
In our last issue, we wrote about the challenges faced by the programme, and were hopeful that we’ll be able to report to our readers “the way forward” in this issue.
 
We realised that we are not the only ones facing this problem; we came across 5 such training programmes in Delhi facing similar problems. They, too, have about 6-8 trainees in each batch, with at least 3 resource personnel engaged in the training programme. This means that in Delhi alone, there are about 15 resource persons conducting training programmes for about 35-40 visually impaired trainees.
 
We got together with representatives of these organisations and eminent professionals from the domain for a brainstorming session to find “the way forward”. It was established that to build a successful employability programme the following factors have to be addressed.
  1. Employers have to be willing to hire. Hiring blind people needs to be seen as routine HR practice.
  2. Work place solutions have to be preemptive and developed keeping in mind a blind employee.
  3. Quality of skills a blind student graduating from school or college possesses has to improve, keeping employability in perspective.
  4. People (society + employers) need to recognise a blind person as a resource and not a liability.
  5. High quality skill development training needs to be delivered.
 
There was a consensus among all present that skill development is not just about numbers, that is, imparting some training to a group of visually impaired trainees. More importantly, it is about transformation—transformation in the education process, transformation within the individual, and transformation in the mindset of the people. A transformation that will empower blind individuals to realise their potential, so that they do not have to settle for a job for which they may be a complete misfit and that does not do justice to their talents and capabilities.
 

Contributing Content for the Eyeway Website


Eyeway’s USP has always been as a knowledge resource, with the website being one of the primary channels of knowledge for all and sundry. But with limited manpower, it was getting tough to maintain the inflow of relevant content. So some time back, we put out a request on the social media for meaningful content contributions for our website. We are happy to say that we got a very good response not only from within the country, but even abroad. And we’ll share all about the contributions we get in our next edition. For now, we would like to share with you a contribution by Pragya Mahajan, who recounts her experience of an adventure sports trip she undertook along with her twin sister Prachi, and others. This trip was organised by National Association for the Blind, New Delhi.
Click here to read about all the fun they had.
 
Prachi trying to balance
Pragya trying to climb up
George Abraham chairing the panel discussion at the launch of Veer 2

Talks

 
Our CEO, George Abraham, had several speaking engagements in the last quarter. Here’s a brief overview:
 
Addressed a group of judicial officials, lawyers, and police at a sensitisation and training programme held at the Saket court, New Delhi, on 12 April.
 
Chaired a panel discussion on 20 May at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, on the occasion of the launch of Veer 2. Veer is an initiative which encourages every Indian citizen to play the role of an enabler and help people with disability unleash their true potential. Veer is joint initiative of Being Human Foundation with Coca Cola India, along with American India Foundation and CNN IBN.
 
Took a one-day session on “Corporate Employment and Communication Skills” at the intensive training programme of All India Confederation of the Blind (AICB) on 13 June, where 45 visually impaired women participated.
 
Attended the board meeting of the Daisy Forum of India. Score Foundation will play a leading role in developing and producing communication material for the forum.

Look out for Eyeway Mobile App and Eyeway website – with the new look

 
We have undertaken sensitisation workshops in the past, primarily for the ophthalmologists, because we realised that while ophthalmologists are the first, and perhaps the most trusted, source of information people rush to when faced with any eye problem, if the condition is incurable then ophthalmologists, in spite of being in the best position to advise them about the way forward, are unable to do so as they are themselves unaware about it.
 
During the course of these workshops, we had shared information dockets in English, Hindi, and Oriya with more than 600 ophthalmologists so that they can further give it to people who come to them with an incurable eye condition. The dockets, however, are a static source of information, and don’t feature the latest updates. To solve this problem we are now developing an Eyeway app, which will be launched on Android and iOS platform to start with.
 
Though initially for ophthalmologists, this app can be used by other health care professionals, NGOs, as well as persons with any eye condition and their friends and families. The app is scheduled to be launched in August this year.

In tandem with the mobile app development, we are also working on revamping the look of our Eyeway website. This will enable better aesthetics in accessible navigation, appeal to our sighted visitors on the site, and also enable seamless navigation on any mobile device. We are working to go live with the revamped website by the end of this month.

Reaching out through WhatsApp


Our WhatsApp messaging service is growing steadily. We push out messages on job openings, technology, events & happenings, and other relevant news from around the world.

Anyone interested to join this group should write to us at scorefoundation@eyeway.org, mentioning their name and mobile number
.
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
Twitter
Website
Website
Don’t forget to watch our documentary film on YouTube ‘Life Does not Stop Here!’  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF8FQEut9F4

Score Foundation’s mission is to inform, inspire and empower all persons with visual impairment in India to live independent and successful lives with equal access to opportunity and services. We gather and disseminate knowledge and information on life with blindness through project ‘Eyeway’ which encompasses our radio show, our helpdesk (+91-11-46070380), our messaging services, and our website. In doing so we reach the blind and visually impaired throughout India, serving them with information and advice while also working to overcome discrimination and empower communities through both our grassroots and institutionally targeted advocacy activities.

We are in great need of your support. If you can please donate and help us continue the great work we do. Cheques to be made payable to Score Foundation and sent to 17/107 L.G.F., Vikram Vihar, Lajpat Nagar IV, New Delhi 110024. A bank transfer can also be sent. For details please contact scorefoundation@eyeway.org - donations are exempt of tax under section 80G of the Income Tax Act. In case you would like to make an online donation you can do so through Rand De. To visit Score foundation's Rang De Page and make a donation
click here. Thank you!


You can also contribute to the cause in kind; we are always on the lookout for talented volunteers who can help us with proposal and report writing, research, and some other activities from time to time. Interested people can send in their resume to scorefoundation@eyeway.org. Apart from an experience letter, we also promise to help broaden your horizons and provide opportunities of learning about the domain. 

 
Copyright © 2015 Score Foundation, All rights reserved. 
Editing and layout by 3P Solutions
Copyright © 2015 Score Foundation, All rights reserved.


unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp