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SCOREBOARD
May-Jun 2014
Volume 3, Issue 3, May-Jun 2014

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.

Skill Development Program

When Rihan suddenly lost  his eyesight due to retinal detachment in 2008 he was appearing for his class 12th  exams. His life came to a stand still as his confidence plummeted. He could not think of any job opportunities, as with his meager eligibility of 12th pass along with his deteriorating vision, he was in his mind, virtually unemployable. He became home bound and even feared to step out of his home to nearby places in Lucknow.

As the child grows up he/she  needs an environment that favours learning. When a child is sighted, this learning comes easily through imitation. However, if a child cannot see, he may or may not get the same degree of learning if the parents are unaware basic adaptations that can foster learning in children with visual impairment.

As a result, they are often viewed as liabilities as opposed to integral contributors to the country. This has resulted in them being resigned to a life of dependence. There are merely 200 special schools in our country that cater to a very small percentage of visually impaired people. The services in most of these schools are poor, the facilities sub-standard and the curriculum watered down. When visually impaired students come out of colleges they lack basic skills. This coupled with pre-existing biases in the minds of employers makes them virtually unemployable.

It is our conviction that visually impaired people are a huge human resource pool of the country currently lying untapped. For this reason Score Foundation is launching a training based skill development program to equip visually impaired young people with essential skills to make them job ready.

Our program will provide skill based training in three areas, namely, computer skills – introduction and proficiency in the use of screen readers and MS office 10, soft skills and process specific orientation, and mobility, to simulate and orient adaption strategies to move independently. If you know someone who can benefit from our project, ask him/her to contact us at 011-46070380 or write to us at scorefoundation@eyeway.org.

Advocacy Success!

Work and the financial independence it provides, is a basic right of every individual. When it comes to people with disabilities this right is often violated. On 27th January 2014, the Delhi Subordinate Service Selection Board (DSSSB) released a vacancy advertisement for various posts within the Delhi government. On careful reading it was noticed that 7 of the posts were in violation of 3% clause of the PWD Act 1995. We filed a case in the High Court and won it. However, more than a month on the CCPD order has still not been implemented by DSSB, proving what we were looking at as the war was in fact only a battle. We have now written to CCPD again informing them of the non-compliance by DSSB and imploring them to intervene. To read more about the case click here.

Advocacy

Since the inception of the Helpdesk in 2007, we have frequently received calls regarding denial of various banking services to visually impaired people across India. In the past 2 months we received calls from two callers in Rachi, Jharkhand, both of whom have been denied ATM cards by State Bank of India, on account of their visual impairment. These cases make it clear, that although RBI has issued circulars in the matter, implementation of these circulars is still sketchy. To find out what we did in the matter click here.



Queries received on the Helpdesk reflect the disregard certain government departments and institutions have towards government provisions. Discrimination remains persistent despite the laws, UN convention and guidelines put in place to safeguard the rights of persons with disabilities. Read about two such tales of discrimination in the next column. 

Faulty Railway Provision

Pappu Kushwaha and other people with visual impairment has continuously been denied the opportunity to avail tickets reserved under the two seat quota for disabled people in the Indian Railways.  Rail employees have often taken it upon themselves to decide in the matter, on grounds that Pappu is not accompanied by an escort. To find out what we did in matter, click here.

Student's woes at Banaras Hindu University (BHU)

b. A student with visual impairment enrolled for a master degree in BHU is struggling to avail the facilities provided for blind student appearing for their exams. BHU refused to take cognizance of the uniform examination guidelines issued by the ministry of social justice and empowerment in 2013, even though there are currently around 70 students with disability enrolled in the university. Since the semester exams were coming up we had to act quickly. Read about our intervention now.  

To read about the various workshops and interactive sessions we conducted over the past 2 months click here

Research

Over the last 8 years we have had over 10,000 queries on our Helpdesk on various matters pertaining to life with blindness. Although we pride ourselves on being able to empower people, by providing them information about services, facilities and legal provisions, in this time we have also noticed gaps in terms of services, and their implementation. We believe, the time is now apt to analyse this rich data and identify these gaps in services.

For this reason we have begun a long overdue analysis of the 10,000 queries on the Helpdesk. The analysis will cover 9 thematic areas and span over 3 months. For this purpose our Eyeway Helpdesk Service is currently on halt starting 1st June 2014. The service will resume on 1st of September post the completion of the analysis.

Our Impact

An example of our intervention on the Helpdesk is the case of Munna Kuman Shah. To know more about the intervention read below: 

24 year old Munna Kumar Shah has been living with blindness for 10 years now, due to Retinitis pigmentosa. Since the death of his parents, he has been shuffling between his elder brothers houses. He spent his days, without any hope of ever being independent or resuming his education. He seemed to have resigned himself to the situation. Read more to find out how listing to our Radioshow gave him new hope.

News In Brief


Interacting with People

Supported by the Hans Foundation we have conducted 21 interactive sessions in the last two months, with various stakeholders across India. We have conducted these session in the cities of Bangalore, Mumbai, Goa, Delhi, Kolkata, Shimla and Mathura, wherein we have engaged with students (school, college and professional), Ophthalmologists, Community Workers, Social Entrepreneurs, Research Scholars and Corporate Executives.

The sessions involved presentations, sharing of Nazar Ya Nazariya videos, Question and Answer and in some cases simulation too. The sessions focussed on the potential of blind people and various possibilities that exist. They also urged people to start thinking inclusive, by recognizing the diversity that exists in the community.

The response to these sessions have been excellent. For example, in Shimla a few doctors spoke of the need to set up low vision and rehab centres in the city. At hotel Gardenia the participants commented that more such sessions should be held with other hotels too. The participants at Grand Maratha in Mumbai expressed willingness to take on visually impaired people to intern in their various departments, while the hotel in Kolkata said they’d like to start hiring visually impaired people.

Having said this, we are saddened to see that these various sessions confirm our initial belief that there is a widespread lack of awareness and understanding among the general public about the possibilities available for those living a life with blindness. 

We would like to take this opportunity to inform all our supporters that Score Foundation is looking to organize ‘Nazar Ya Nazariya’ Sensitization workshops across India. If you would like to conduct a sensitization workshop or talk or know somebody who might, drop us a mail at deepti@eyeway.org.  
 

Eyeway SMS Alert Service is Back on WhatsApp

The anticipated Eyeway SMS Service is finally back on a brand new platform. As of 2nd of July 2014, we are now sending News and Job Alerts through WhatsApp. Currently 49 people are benefiting from the service. If you would also like to receive information from around the domain on WhatsApp mail us on scorefoundation@eyeway.org with your name, mobile nubmer and basic information.

Research Update

The introduction chapter of our mobility and transport research is now complete. In addition we are excited to have Ms. Renu Adhlakha on board as a consultant for the research. Ms. Adlakha is a renowned writer in the disability, gender, and mental health domain. She is currently senior fellow at the Centre for Women’s developmental  Studies.

Blog

The eyeway blog is now accepting guest blogposts. If you have opinions about life with Blindness and you want to share them with the world drop us a mail at deepti@eyeway.org. Over the last two months we have published 8 blogposts. Of these 5 have been guest posts.

Elections and disability have always been a point of contention for disability activists. The problem is that the election System in India is just not inclusive. This means that the 63 million (WHO, 2010) visually impaired people in India are not looked as a credible vote bank. Read L Subhramani’s views about visual impairment and voting. To read his blogpost: It’s time we take our democratic rights seriously click here.

Before the general elections of 2014 Score Foundation also engaged in a research with some of our helpdesk clients to know exactly how inclusive the election process in worlds biggest democracy is? To know click here.

Kiran Kaja, a NRI living in the UK has never believed that vision impairment holds you back from doing things. To prove this he jumped out of a perfectly good airplane! To read a thrilling tale of adventure sport read Kiran’s Blogpost: Why I Jumped out of a Perfectly good airplane? click here.

Nidhi Goyal is a gender and disability rights advocate working for inclusion and equality. In her Blogpost: Want to go on a date? Part 1 she explains why being visually impaired should not hold you back from dating, and gives practical tips on dating. To read her Blogpost Click here.

Shadab Husain, is currently working with King George Medical Hospital in Lucknow. Upon reading some of the guest blogs on Eyeway, he worked up the courage to pen one himself. His Blogpost: Why you aren’t living as you want, explores stereotypical mindsets and negative experiences that hold people back from living a fuller life with vision impairment. To read click here.

It is a common perception that people with visual impairment cannot cook or maintain a house independently. Payal Kapoor, through her life experience, has proved this mindset wrong. In her Blogpost: Your tryst with the kitchen, she takes you through the Do's and Don'ts of cooking independently. Your tryst in the kitchen is one of the best guides you will find that takes you step by step through the kitchen and to the cooktop! Read here.

To read any of the other 3 blogposts written by eyeway in the last two months check out Blog here!

Give A Little (or a Lot!)

The work of the Score Foundation is only possible thanks to grants and donations from kind organizations and people like you. We are delighted to be partnering with Rang De, who are facilitating online donations for us. You can give as much or as little as you like to support the Eyeway channels, helping us continue to communicate and advocate for blind people in India. Please visit our page on Rang De to make a donation using a credit card, debit card or bank account. You can give money to the Score Foundation through this method from within India and also if you are based outside India. If you would like to give to us, but prefer not to use online methods, please check the Donate section of our Website.
 
If however, you would like to contribute to the cause in kind, we are always on the lookout for talented volunteers who can help us with proposal and report writing. Interested people can send in their resume to deepti@eyeway.org and mark a copy 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 and changing your mindset along the way.   
 

Score's Getting Social!

Our Facebook fan base has increased to 12,868, to include 363 new people with whom we actively engage on a regular basis. We have now started receiving queries regarding technology, training courses, Radioshow and much more on Facebook as well, in addition to our Helpdesk. To engage with us on Facebook like us here.
 
We are in the process of expanding our Twitter base to be able to reach out to more people on Twitter and beyond. We currently have 579 Followers on Twitter. To follow us on Twitter 
click here.

 

Scoring in the Media


In the last two months our CEO appeared in two stories in the Media:
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Twitter
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Website
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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 SMS alerts 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!
Copyright © 2012 Score Foundation, All rights reserved. 
 
Copyright © 2014 Score Foundation, All rights reserved.


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