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SCOREBOARD
July-Sept 2015
Volume 4, Issue 3, July-Sept 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.

Introduction

There are numerous people striving to overcome obstacles and challenges. Kartik Sawhney an Indian student studying Engineering at Stanford University with a fully funded scholarship, Beno Zephine  the first blind person to make it to the Indian Foreign Service, Fatima Soriano a Philippines based musical artist and composer of religious songs and Jaime Silva, an architect based in Philippines are incredible examples of extraordinary visually impaired people accomplishing great things.

The most common factor that connected them was their devotion to the day to day struggle. Through the qualities of stories we have been receiving, we have managed to connect across the globe. 

 

Contributing content for the Eyeway Website:

We had posted on Facebook seeking people who could help and generate content. We received an overwhelming response from people willing to write about those who inspire and have achieved despite the disability. Monalinda Cadiz of Philippines and Pramila Komanduri from USA are regular contributors of the Eyeway . If you want to write about life with blindness and would like to share with us, please mail us at scorefoundation@eyeway.org. The following stories can make an impact on the people of India and also motivate parents to allow children with disability to follow their dreams.

 

In the last quarter four stories were featured on the eyeway website. A motivational speaker, an architect, a student at Stanford University and an IFS officer are significant examples of people who have overcome challenges to be an inspiration for all. received an 


Monalinda Cadiz writes about Fatima Soriano- Living with blindness for a purpose. Fatima Soriano, an artist, composer of religious songs, a national radio show host and a motivational speaker was born blind yet is always thankful to everything and everyone.
To read her entire story: http://eyeway.org/?q=fatima-soriano-living-blindness-purpose-monalinda-cadiz



Jaime Silva, Redesigning life goals towards productivity in blindness talks with Monalinda Cadiz about following his dreams even after losing his eyesight. His path with blindness led him to become a corporate executive, a civic leader, and advocate, motivational and technical speaker. He was the recipient of the 2011 Professional Regulations Commission’s Outstanding Professional Award in the year 2011 in the Field of Architecture, and he is also an Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) architect. 
To read more about the achiever: 
http://www.eyeway.org/?q=jaime-silva-redesigning-life-goals-towards-productivity-blindness-monalinda-cadiz




Pramila Komanduri writes about Kartik Sawhney, a computer science student at Stanford University, a trained Hindustani Vocal singer and an intern with Microsoft. He has followed Dr. Kalam's encouraging words that have remained the guiding mantra in following his dreams and goals.

“What is required to succeed is not vision but A Vision,” said Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam to Kartik Sawhney, a blind boy who was then studying in the 5th grade in New Delhi, India.

He credits his parents, teachers from Delhi Public School and National Association for the Blind School for his success. 
To read his entire story: http://www.eyeway.org/?q=kartik-sawhney-pramila-komanduri






George Abraham CEO Score Foundation converses with Beno Zephine, the first totally blind woman to enter the Indian Foreign Service. Her story is an example of conviction and hard work that led her to crack the UPSC examination.
She shares her motivating journey and her future aspirations. 
To read her inspiring story: http://www.eyeway.org/?q=beno-zephine



 

EYEWAY Helpdesk:


Eyeway has been providing information on empowering people with blindness for more than a decade. We aim to change perspectives of people on making people with vision impairment inclusive of the nation’s growing economy and this has encouraged us to move forward. In the previous scoreboard we had mentioned that we needed to reach out to a wider population, and the countdown has begun to scale the numbers through which we could reach out to more number of people and since then we have identified a cloud based technology as a service provider for a toll free number.
We identified like minded organizations from across India who we are networking with to provide specialized information to the callers. With this network in place, a visually impaired person will be able to talk to a helpdesk counsellor in his/ her local language. In the first phase we would be covering Karnataka, Delhi and Punjab and subsequent phases would cover more number of places. The five NGO’s are Enable India, MitraJyothi in Bangalore, Saksham, and National Association for the Blind in Delhi and Navchetna Institute in Patiala with who we are in the process of signing the MOU as well
Our help desk received calls from 110 clients and responded to 265 queries in the previous quarter about a varied range of issues such as banking facilities, education, employment, financial assistance, counselling, assistive technology, government provisions and policies, government jobs and competitive exams in the last quarter. The helpdesk team comprises of three members Binni Kumari, Devashish Bhargav and Dominic Roy. Rajia and Seema completed six months of internship with the helpdesk in the last quarter.

 

Stories from the Helpdesk:

Over the years the helpdesk has assisted callers from across the country that has queries on varied range of issues. Similarly in the last quarter we received a number of calls. Two calls were from students studying in colleges, one in the national capital and another a central university. One such caller was Paras Jain who has been enrolled for an Engineering course n Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology which is affiliated to Delhi University. The university has enrolled him under its reservation policy yet hasn’t been able to provide him with support in terms of study material and other supports in campus. He hasn’t been able to access study material and was made to run around for the same. The faculty isn’t aware on how to facilitate education to a blind student since they aren’t trained to do so.
 
Likewise Uzair, a first year student in Aligarh Muslim University with complete blindness had called up the helpdesk to get recorded study material of Hindi syllabus. His first term examinations start from the 5th October. We recommended a few organizations to him who did recordings and we also suggested him to request one of his friends who could do the recordings. Additionally we got him in touch with a volunteer who would do the recordings for a fee. We also put him in touch with National Social Service of his college, to see if someone could help him, unfortunately nobody could invest their time.

Finally one of his roommates accepted his request to help him.

These stories make us think about the lack of resources and preparedness of colleges to take on board a visually impaired person. Proactive thinking and clear direction is missing on the part of the authority. To consider a person with blindness as a human resource and investing on them is very low on the priorities list.

Educational institutions need to be sensitive and aware on how to absorb students with vision impairment when they know they have to enroll students with visual impairment. The colleges need to take responsibility on their part and not leave it to the students to fend . In this way, even the student can feel welcome.

 The government of India has made an announcement of launching 100 smart city programmes in the next five years. It is a great opportunity to start planning smart cities keeping in mind people with vision impairment as well. Similarly it has launched the National Skill Development Programme which will be training 25 lakh individuals for better job prospects, yet the question arises, will a visually impaired person be part of the program since blind and visually impaired are not perceived as part of low hanging fruit.
 
Amar Jain a blind corporate lawyer based in Mumbai got in touch with us.  There were several elements on the website of Ministry of Corporate Affairs that he wasn’t able to access. We then got in touch with a representative at the ministry who stated that the website had been designed by Infosys and mentioned that they would work on it to make it accessible. It is a little surprising that a company like Infosys which is known to be socially sensitive has not taken cognizance of the fact the websites they make for the government need to be accessible. 

 
 

 

Events & Workshops:


During the course of these three months Ms. Binni Kumari, Operations Manager of the Helpdesk attended several conferences. 

1) Ms. Binni Kumari, participated in Delhi Helpline Network Meeting on 7th of July and 30th September respectively. The first meeting was organized by AARTH ASTHA which deals with cross disabilities. The major highlight of the meeting was a session addressed by Sanjivini Society for Mental Health on dealing with stress during telephonic counselling. The Delhi Helpline Network is a group of organizations which runs non-profit helplines in Delhi and NCR region.
The second meeting was organized by Narcotics Anonymous which deals with counseling and rehabilitation of drug addicts. She gave a presentation on Score Foundation and its work.

 3) On 18th September; she addressed a session with students of disability in Sarthak Educational Trust on “Goal Setting”. She motivated students with visual impairment, locomotors disability to visualize their dreams.


Our CEO George Abraham was invited to speak to District Judges and Judicial Officers at the Delhi Judicial Academy, Dwarka, on sensitization of issues regarding disability. The talk focused on people with disability and how their issues needed to be taken up seriously. People in the judicial system need to play a proactive role. 



Reaching out through WhatsApp:


The Whatsapp alert services have been growing steadily.  At present we have 300 subscribers on the eyeway group.
If you would like to receive alerts on jobs, news, events, and technology from the domain. Mail us on scorefoundation@eyeway.org with your name, mobile number and other basic information. 

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

 Score Foundation recently launched the Eyeway mobile app which is available on an Android phone, can be downloaded from the Google Play Store. The app will soon be available on iOS and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store. One can find latest job openings, events, interviews and articles. The purpose is to reach out farther and inform people with visual impairment to aspire and achieve. 
The app will be extremely useful for healthcare professionals
, NGOs and people with eye conditions. 

Contributions:
 

 

Eyeway has always been accepting guests’ blog posts. If you want to write about life with blindness and would like to share with us, please mail us at scorefoundation@eyeway.org.  If you would like to contribute for our cause in kind, we are always looking out for volunteers who can help us in writing, gather information, interview achievers or help in resource mobilization.
The work of Score Foundation is possible with the support of grants and donations from organizations and people. All donations to Score Foundation would be eligible for tax exemption under the 80G. We are delighted to be partnering with Rang De, who are facilitating with online donations for us. You can give as much as or little as you like to support the Eyeway channels, helping us to communicate and advocate for blind people in India. Please visit our page on
Rangde 
https://www.rangde.org/score-foundation
 to make a donation using a credit card, debit card or bank account. You can also give money to Score Foundation through this method from within or outside India. If you would like to give us, but prefer not to use online methods, please check the Donate section of our website http://scorefoundation.org.in/contribute-1#dof. 

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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 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.


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