Co-founder and Managing Trustee
Co-founder and Trustee
Principal Consultant - Technology
According to the 2011 Census of India, there are more than 11 lakh visually impaired children in the age group 5-19, 68% of whom attend school, 11.5% have dropped out of school and 20.5% have never attended school. The challenges of education for visually impaired students in India include their large numbers, dispersed distribution, diversity of languages in the country, and education systems across vernacular mediums. Of the visually impaired children that attend school, very few pursue Science and Mathematics beyond seventh grade. There are significant barriers for the visually impaired to pursue Science and Mathematics based courses in India, mainly due to unavailability of simple and effective ways to present mathematical notations comprising of equations, diagrams, and other complex interpretations to the student. Apart from lack of appropriate technology aids for teaching Mathematics and Science, there is also a dearth of teachers in who can train these students on the usage of available technologies.
Vision Empower (VE), incubated at IIITB Innovation Center, Bangalore, is a Not-for-Profit enterprise which will address the problems of inadequate focus on Science and Mathematics in schools for the visually impaired. Team VE aims to make it possible for visually impaired students to pursue the study of Science and Mathematics, with accessibility to content almost on-par with their sighted peers. The motivation for this initiative came from Vidhya Y, a gold medalist in Masters in Digital Society programme at IIITB, who has been visually impaired since birth. Overcoming her immense challenges, she excelled in academics with her grit and determination. She was the first blind student to take a Computer Science major in undergraduate studies in her university. It is her dream that no visually impaired child should. be denied the opportunity to study Science and Mathematics, if they wish to. The VE team will launch projects to provide accessible solutions for education of the visually impaired.
VE will make Science and Mathematics accessible to school-going children with visual impairment, at par with that of their sighted peers.
Vision Empower will address the needs of content creation for middle school and high school students studying Science and Mathematics in schools for the visually impaired.
Co-founder and Managing Trustee
Co-founder and Trustee
Principal Consultant - Technology
Hackathon Details: http://inclusivestem.org/hackathon.html
Vision Empower announces the first Teacher training program for Science and Math teachers for the VE-Pilot project between 27th and 29th of June. This will address the content for the first trimester for fifth standard for the Karnataka State syllabus.
Partners: Matruchhaya - Canara Bank Relief and Welfare Society
Venue: CANARA BANK RELIEF & WELFARE SOCIETY
27th Cross, Banashankari II Stage
Bangalore 560 070
Timings: 9:45 am to 3:30 pm
Vision Empower and Vividha Trust organized Anubhav – a Science and Math summer camp for children of 5th grade for the visually impaired children in Bangalore from 25th March 2018 to 30th March 2018. The camp, attended by 10 students, provided an out of school learning environment to absorb certain concepts of Science and Math through experiential learning. Along with the classroom activities on Science and Math, the camp included fun and games and outdoor activities such as a visit to an animal petting farm.
Supported by: IIIT Bangalore and Wipro Ltd.
I-STEM or Inclusive Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is a self-advocacy group of individuals with visual impairment, who have chosen to pursue careers in STEM related subjects. On January 20 & 21st 2018, the I-Stem hackathon was held at IIIT BangaIore. It was co-organized by E-Health Research Centre at IIITB, Vision Empower, Vision Aid and Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC). The hackathon highlighted the need to develop awareness in the information technology industry about the necessity to recognize the capabilities of visually impaired programmers and provide the necessary accommodations, so that they may not be denied the opportunity to pursue their chosen occupations.
The twelve hackathon teams comprised of five participants in each team, comprising of two visually impaired programmers, two sighted programmers from the industry and one engineering student from IIIT Bangalore. The twenty five visually impaired participants who came from across the country, are either currently studying at premier institutes such as IITs, NITs, IIITs, NSIT or are working at leading technology companies, government and public sector organizations and other startups. Twenty three sighted engineers from eleven companies including Deutsche Bank, Honeywell, Juniper Networks, Microsoft, Mindtree, Oracle, Salesforce, Sasken, TCS, Uber and Wipro participated in the event.
Prof. S. Sadagopan(Director, IIIT Bangalore), Mr. Ajay Seth, IAS (Additional Chief Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Dept., Govt. of Karnataka), Dr. Y.S. Rajan (Honorary Distinguished Professor, Indian Space Research Organization) and Dr. Chieko Asakawa (IBM Fellow) shared their perspectives at the inaugural event.
A panel discussion on “Disability and the Tech Industry: Employment and Product Perspectives” was organized in which representatives of corporate HR practices and Inclusiveness were invited to share their thoughts on the demands and practices in the industry and the necessity of creating inclusive workplaces. The honorable panelists were Mr. Ankit Rajiv Jindal, Dell/Friends for Inclusion, Mr. Karthik Padmanabhan (Google), Ms. Meenu Bhambhani (Mphasis), Mr. P. Rajasekharan (V-Shesh), Mr. Rakesh Paladugula (Adobe Systems/Maxability), Ms. Sonia Sahgal (Microsoft), and Ms. Vidya Rao (Wipro).
Besides informal networking and exchange of ideas between the organizing partners of the event, the hackathon provided a forum for students, academicians and industry practitioners to confer about the challenges faced by the visually impaired in society, and suggest ways to promote STEM education among them. Recruiting managers from several firms joined on both days to interact with the budding engineers and others who are already employed, to understand their needs, capabilities and potential, and to equip themselves to take the first steps in providing for an inclusive workspace. Several visually impaired participants received interview requests during or soon after the event.
The twelve teams presented their creations to the panel of judges comprising of Prof. T K Srikanth, Professor & Faculty-in-charge Computing, IIITB, Mr. George who leads the Economic and Technology Inclusion and Accessibility initiatives at Enable India and Mr. Srinivasu Chakravarthula, Lead Accessibility Consultant, IAAP - International Association of Accessibility Professionals.
First prize: Rishabh Jain (IIT Roorkee), Rutwik Ravi Teja Vempati (IIT Madras), Aman Datta (Honeywell), Ramakrishna Kulkarni (Wipro), Mayank Senani (IIIT Bangalore) : A product using computer vision and NLP to identify objects in an image, determine relationship between them and return a description of this relationship.
Second prize: Manjot Singh (DPS Gurgaon), Harsha HD (Bangalore University), Abhijit Dasgupta (Honeywell), Sai Krishna (Juniper Networks), Mohammad Khalid (IIIT Bangalore) : A novel inclusive game of snakes and ladders with Harry Potter.
Third prize: Team 4-Kartik Sawhney (Stanford University), Abhishek Agarwal (Securities and Exchange Board of India), Sidharth Raja (Uber), Shashidhar Gurumurthy (Salesforce), Tarun pandey (IIIT Bangalore) : A product for currency identification for the blind which is especially useful after demonetization, since the identifying features to distinguish currency by the blind are no longer available.
Motivating school students at Sanawar Leadership Program (TSLP), Organized by The Lawrence School, Sanawar (Himachal Pradesh) in collaboration with Aspire in June
How blindness did not stop these youngsters from being a techie
Here's proof that blindness is no barrier to app-making
Chapter on Assistive Technologies in ICT Trends : United Nations Asian and Pacific Training Centre for Information and Communication Technology for Development (APCICT) created for inter-governmental organizations, available at:
Vidhya wins the Namma Bengaluru award for "Rising Star of the Year 2018"
Vidhya wins the Eastern Condiments award for eminent women on International Women's Day 2018
Reebok Fit to Fight Award for Vidhya Y
Tie-Aspire Young Achievers Award for Vidhya Y
Aadhi Aabadi for Vidhya Y
Vision Empower welcomes you to join us and support our operations. Some of the areas where you can help us:
Your contribution means a lot to further this cause. To donate towards Vision Empower projects you may reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org .