Joining hands with the Odisha Government
On 12th August 2022, Vision Empower (VE) in partnership with IIIT-Bangalore and Microsoft Research hosted, Shri Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister of Science and Technology, Public Enterprises and SSEPD (Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities) along with Mr Bhaskar Jyoti Sarma – Secretary, SSEPD (Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities) and Ms Rashmi Ranjan Sahoo – Private Secretary to Honourable Minister, from the Government of Odisha.
As a not-for-profit organization working to make STEM education accessible for children with visual impairments, this meeting conducted at IIIT-Bangalore aimed to introduce and implement VE interventions in the state of Odisha.
Dr. Debabrata Das, Director of IIIT Bangalore along with Professor Amit Prakash, co-founder of VE and professor at IIITB welcomed the minister and officers from Odisha. Shri Ashok Chandra accepted the memento and introduced himself highlighting his educational background and work experience. He expressed his interest in understanding the work VE does in making STEM education accessible. Followed by this, Dr Swami Manohar from Microsoft Research (MSR) briefly shared the collaborative work of VE and MSR.
The presentation started with Vidhya Y, VE co-founder introducing herself and how her challenges as a person with visual impairment motivated her to create accessible solutions to the problems faced by children with visual impairment. She introduced the various interventions of VE to the minister and his team. Post this, Supriya Dey, co-founder of VE explained each of the interventions, namely Learning Resources, Pragya, Ananda, Project VICT, Srujan and Anubhav, in detail. She also traced the journey of VE since its incubation in 2017, highlighting the number of beneficiaries as well as the role of VE’s partners and supporters.
Professor Amit introduced Project VICT (Computational Thinking for the Visually Impaired) emphasizing the play-way approach it follows in making visual concepts of numeracy and computational thinking accessible and engaging for children with visual impairment. Followed by this, Sylvia Veeraghavan, VE’s Programme Manager presented the Odisha proposal highlighting the on-ground research done by VE’s Regional Manager Anshumaan Agrawal and the various activities VE plans to implement in the special schools of the state.
Post the presentation, the minister and his officers were escorted to one of the lab facilities at IIIT-B where VE’s work along with supporting materials and activities were displayed. Here, all the interventions were explained to the minister and his team from Odisha by giving hands-on practical experience of the VICT games, learning resources, study materials, technology, etc.
Shri Ashok Chandra not only appreciated the work VE is doing but expressed his wish on creating a similar environment in the special schools of Odisha. Going forward, VE will be signing an MoU with the Odisha government to implement its interventions in the state.
The meeting was also attended by Kishore Kumar from Microsoft CSR, Nagarajan Rajagopal who is the Director and CEO of Vembi Technologies and the VE team members.