INSPIRATION: Two IIT Kharagpur Alumni take the lead to help the Vision Impaired in India
Information provided by Puran Dang (IITKGP Graduate of 1959) and Vision-Aid (April 2021)
India has the highest population of Blind and Low Vision persons in the world. It is estimated that around one-third of the world’s blind live in India. They mostly live in villages or small towns, with no access to rehabilitation support and the life of these visually impaired individuals and their families is one of daily struggle and great challenges.
M.S. Raju (IIT-KGP Graduate of 1956) and Puran Dang (IIT-KGP Graduate of 1959) are two of the proud alumni of the greatest institution of India, IIT Kharagpur. Both have played pivotal roles in leading the charge in helping enable, educate, and empower persons with vision-related disabilities, so they can live with independence and dignity.
For M.S. Raju, a 1956 graduate of IIT-Kharagpur, it is a personal matter. His son, Ramakrishna Raju, had an optic condition which caused low vision. Despite this, and with the help of his strong will and positive attitude, he got his Engineering Degree in India and was given a Rotary Scholarship to study at Penn State University to pursue an M.S. Degree in Computer Science, which he completed with distinction. He then went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Information Management Systems from Harvard University. He always had a passion and dream of doing something for visually impaired people in India who were not as fortunate.
After M.S. Raju retired from his senior roles in Industry and Academia, he decided he would help his son fulfill his dream. This is how the great Institution and organization Vision-Aid was born.
Raju became the Founder of Vision-Aid India, headquartered in Vizag, Andhra Pradesh, where M.S. resides. The organization provides a comprehensive range of services for the visually impaired in over ten locations across India.
M.S. Raju’s son, Ramakrishna (Ram) and daughter-in-law, Revanty Ramakrishna co-founded Vision-Aid USA in 2004. Headquartered in Lexington, Massachusetts, it is a registered 501(c)(3). Both Vision-Aid locations are supported by very dedicated volunteers, Board Members and Advisors.
Puran Dang is the Chairman of Vision-Aid USA and also a Life-Time Trustee of the IIT Kharagpur Foundation (IITKGP), USA.
Several generous families of Boston have already supported Vision-Aid projects in many States of India:
1) Ram & Meetu Gupta have made a huge contribution for a Vision-Aid Resource Center in Delhi in collaboration with Shroff Charity Eye Hospital. Ram Gupta is an alumnus of IIT Delhi 1970. The Center is in the memory of his late father Mr. Lachhman Dass Gupta.
2) Dr Amar Singh Sawhney, a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Delhi, has been a generous contributor to Vision-Aid projects with the full support his wife, Deepika Sawhney.
3) Mr. Vivek Sharma & Vandana Sharma have made a huge contribution for a Vision -Aid Resource Center in Agra in UP. This Resource Center is jointly partnering with another noble institution from Boston (The Perkins School for the Blind).
4) Dr. Anil Saigal & Mrs Ranjani Saigal, both alumni of IIT Bombay, are supporting a Vision- Aid Resource Center in Pune which is in memory of Ranjani Saigal's late father, Professor Dr. R.S.Ayyar who retired as a Dean of IIT Bombay.
5) Dr Venkat Srinivasan & his wife Pratima Srinivasan have made a substantial contribution for two Vision-Aid Centers in Tamil Nadu, in honor of the living parents of Venkat Srinivasan.
6) Mr. Prashanth Palakurthi and Mrs. Anuuradha Palakurthi have made a very substantial contribution towards creating a new Vision-Aid center in Hyderabad at the L.V.Prasad Eye Instittute, in honor of Prashanth's father Dr. Krupasagar Palakurthi.
More information about Vision-Aid can be found at www.VisionAid.org
Some recent highlights of Vision-Aid:
• Through donations from very generous families in the USA, we have opened many Resource Centers/Clinics namely in Delhi, Agra, Chennai, Pune, Vizag, Berhampur, and in several other locations, in collaboration with famous Eye Hospitals like Sankara Nethralya, Arvind Eye Hospital and Community Eye Care Foundation.
• The Vision-Aid Motto is: Enable, Educate, Empower the visually impaired to help them live with independence and dignity.
• We teach many skills including Computer Education, English, corporate development skills, along with many others to the Blind and Vision Impaired so that they are able to communicate properly and succeed.
• We screen blind children and adults and teach Braille.
• We give them advanced training in Computers: Programming, Digital Accessibility Testing and Advanced Excel Functions.
• We give them Optical and Electronic Aids, so that they can read and write.
• We give them Mobility Training to enable them to navigate safely and independently.
We welcome all interested IIT alumni to join Vision-Aid in this noble mission! Please visit www.visionaid.org to learn more about Vision-Aid, which is on a very solid foundation and is marching forward at a fast pace to meet the ever-growing demand.
Access Vision-Aid USA's new brochure: Vision-Aid USA
Access Vision-Aid India's new brochure: Vision-Aid India