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Awareness Building
For true inclusivity of people with disabilities in mainstream society, the society needs to have a conducive environment that nurtures and builds awareness in the minds of one and all. Mitra Jyothi conducts various programs throughout the year to build awareness in the minds of people. The programs could be for corporates and probable employers so that they become equal opportunity providers, orientation programs for schools and colleges to sensitize them to the needs of people with disabilities while showcasing their strengths or by partaking in various events like marathons and walkathons promoting the cause of disabilities.

Global accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

Since 2016, Mitra Jyothi in partnership with Prakat Solutions has been celebrating GAAD. The purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) access/inclusion and people with different disabilities. It is traditionally hosted on the 3rd Thursday in the month of May. The target audience of GAAD is the design, development, usability, and related communities who build, shape, fund and influence technology and its use. While people may be interested in the topic of making technology accessible and usable by persons with disabilities, the reality is that they often do not know how or where to start. Building awareness comes first and that is the aim of GAAD.

GAAD - 2018 was celebrated with a difference. It was celebrated as a series of events to make it more effective and reach out to various sections of the society, from students to geeks and NGOs to end users! Mitra Jyothi hosted the event on 10th May 2018, specifically catering to the NGO sector and to all people with print disabilities.

Mr. Srinivasu Chakravarthula, Senior Accessibility Consultant at Informatica gave an introduction to GAAD. This was followed by the most interesting session of the evening, keynote addresses by eminent personalities working for the cause of people with disabilities in India, Mr. Dipendra Manocha, Managing Trustee, Saksham Trust, New Delhi, Ms. Kanchan Pamnani, Solicitor, Bombay High Court and Mr. Mujtaba Merchant, Project Management Executive, TCS.

Awareness Building
Awareness Building
Awareness Building

The focus of Mr. Dipendra’s address was on Universal Design Principles and necessary Assistive Technology to make everything available and usable by all. Ms. Kanchan called out to all present in the audience, be it organizations or individuals, to identify a particular aspect of accessibility where a lot of work needs to be done, adopt it as a challenge and work on it in persuasive ways. Mr. Mujtaba spoke about how a journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step in the accessibility context. He shared with the audience his experiences with Uber, Ola and other apps before they become as accessible as they are today. The focus of his address was to have basic accessibility in all aspects from infrastructure to digital accessibility, to be available to all, to combat various bodily limitations that anyone can face at any time in their lives.

The keynote address was followed by an interactive question & answer session. The audience was an effective mix of people from various walks of life, representing difference sections of society, from visually impaired students to NGOs working for the cause of disability to organizations like Informatica, Pratian Technologies, VinVinaya and many others who are inclusive employers. A large section of the audience was people with vision impairment leading successful and independent lives. Truly, they are role models to one and all.

The program concluded with an event summarization by Ms. Anu Biswas, CEO of Prakat Solutions and Ms. Uma Krishnamurthy, COO of Mira Jyothi.

Workshops to build awareness

Awareness Workshop at Mitra Jyothi!

Mitra Jyothi hosted an “Awareness Workshop” on 12th Sep’17 for MRWs (Multi Rehabilitation Workers) from four districts (Hassan, Mandya, Tumkur & Bengaluru Rural). The objective of the program is to bring in awareness among MRWs about the various programs offered by Mitra Jyothi for the enablement of visually impaired people. Since MRWs are the people working directly with persons with disabilities in rural areas, this collaboration is expected to increase Mitra Jyothi’s outreach and benefit more people in far flung areas.

Ms.Pali, Deputy Director from Department for Empowerment of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens, Bangalore and Mr.Devaraj, State Convenor for Karnataka State MRW association, were the chief guests. Ms.Pali while addressing the MRWs requested them to share the information they received during the program with their VRWs (Village Rehabilitation Workers) and reach out to target beneficiary groups through all possible means. She appreciated Mitra Jyothi’s initiative and efforts in bringing together the MRWs for the awareness program.

Awareness Building
Awareness Building
Awareness Building

Mitra Jyothi team educated the MRWs about the various programs we offer including the Educational Resource Centres – Talking Book Library & Braille Transcription Centre, Training Centres – Independent Living Skills & Computer Training Centre, Job Placement Cell and Centre for Empowerment of Women with Disabilities (Hostel facility for working women).

Special focus was on the Independent Living Skills program since this is the key enabler which helps visually impaired women from rural areas gain confidence in themselves, live independent lives and become a part of mainstream society. After listening to the details of each of the programs, all the MRWs were taken on a campus tour where they got to see and experience the programs live in progress.

After spending the entire day in Mitra Jyothi premises, the MRWs were confident that they can bring about a change in the lives of people with disabilities in their respective coverage areas by routing them to Mitra Jyothi.

Mitra Jyothi Team is always looking forward eagerly to such programs through which they can extend their outreach and support to more and more people with disabilities.

Building awareness in young minds....

On 19th January, Mitra Jyothi had more than 100 young children visiting us from Vagdevi Vilas School as part of a sensitization and awareness visit. It was wonderful to have young minds and joyful hearts visit us and understand about vision impairment. In a very child-friendly manner, Ms.Madhu Singhal read out from Braille and made a long lasting impact on the young minds. MJ team introduced them to various empowerment and skill development programs offered by us for people with vision impairment.

On 19th January, Mitra Jyothi had more than 100 young children visiting us from Vagdevi Vilas School as part of a sensitization and awareness visit. It was wonderful to have young minds and joyful hearts visit us and understand about vision impairment. In a very child-friendly manner, Ms.Madhu Singhal read out from Braille and made a long lasting impact on the young minds. MJ team introduced them to various empowerment and skill development programs offered by us for people with vision impairment.

Here is a wonderful email we have received from the Ms. Poorna, the Vice Principal of Vagdevi Vilas School...

One behalf of Vagdevi Vilas School, I would like to thank you for the opportunity given to our students to visit your school and learn a lot of human values.

Mitra Jyothi is undoubtedly a centre for Education and Rehabiliation for visually challenged people.It's involvement in public service is a benchmark in the world of blind.

We had the privilege of visiting your centre with our 7th grade children.It was such an experience to enjoy and to marvel at the training and guidance given to blind people.

As Vagdevians, we had immense pleasure in spending time with you all...a beautiful and brief introduction was given to all of us to know more about your organisation.

Mitra Jyothi serves hope and confidence to the people who really deserve the guidance & support and making them self dependent and it is shaping the future of visually impaired people by making their life colourful and meaningful....

Ms. Madhu, really made our day that day..we were very much impressed by her caliber and her kind words..

Wishing your team the best wishes and God's grace in abundance

Thank you..

With Warm Regards
Poorna
Vice Principal - VVSV

Field Trip to Devadurga and Koppal

Field trip to Devadurga and Koppal
Field trip to Devadurga and Koppal
Field trip to Devadurga and Koppal

The team then went to Koppal, a 4+ hour drive away from Devadurga. Here the awareness level was a little higher and people are a bit more open to give a patient hearing. However yet again despite expecting 40 girls, only close to 20 turned up.

After such workshops, the team returns with a sense of satisfaction on one side for being able to reach out to them but with a heavy heart on the other side seeing them in their current state of being. We will continue to work for them….bringing in awareness one person at a time, one village at a time. Slowly but surely we will succeed.

Building awareness in Corporates

Very often various organizations invite Ms. Madhu Singhal as an inspirational speaker to address their employees. On one such occasion in April 2018, the SICM Team from Cisco Systems invited Mitra Jyothi to partake in their Annual Day Celebrations. Here she addressed an audience who were totally awestruck with her life’s journey and spoke about the various enablement programs in support of people with disabilities provided at Mitra Jyothi. She gave more insights on providing equal opportunity to all and inclusive hiring. The audience were very touched by the Vision and Mission of Mitra Jyothi and were in total awe as Ms. Madhu Singhal spoke. This is building awareness and inclusivity one step at a time, one team at a time and one company at a time!

Leadership Workshops at Mitra Jyothi

Mitra Jyothi hosts special workshops to showcase leadership abilities of persons with vision impairment. In Dec 2017, as part of a Leadership Development initiative from "Common Purpose", Mitra Jyothi hosted an event to showcase "Sources of Power" in people with vision impairment. It was a very well designed event where the participants (Senior management teams from various Corporates, Government Sector and NGOs) participated. They were initially blindfolded and taken around the premises of Mitra Jyothi as part of a "Sensing Walk" that sensitized them to the needs of people with vision impairment. Ms. Madhu Singhal addressed the gathering and spoke about the "Sources of Power" in her life and her life's journey. The definition of success and how it is different for each person & unique to their own circumstances & abilities was the focus of Ms. Uma Krishnamurthy's address. She also spoke in depth about a few success stories of Mitra Jyothi beneficiaries and sources of power within them. The invitees were introduced to all the programs run by Mitra Jyothi and taken on an orientation visit around the campus. Four guest speakers (all of them visually impaired) were invited to share the experiences of their own journeys and their "Sources of Power" at each stage. Mr. Ankit Jindal. Mr. Saurabh Malav, Ms. Dundamma and Ms. Manisha were our guest speakers. While Mr. Ankit and Mr.Saurabh are big success stories, pioneers, role-models & champions for the cause of disabilities in the technology industry, Ms.Dundamma and Ms. Manisha are some of the best success stories that Mitra Jyothi will have. They hail from very poor families in a small village in North Karnataka. With great difficulty they completed class 10 education. They reached out to Mitra Jyothi for support in May 2017 and today they are independent women working in Bangalore. They not only take care of her financial needs but are also able to support their family back home. "Sources of Power" is truly different for everyone! Mrs. Munira Sen of Common Purpose ended the workshop with a round of reflection and retrospection.

Leadership Workshops at Mitra Jyothi
Leadership Workshops at Mitra Jyothi
Leadership Workshops at Mitra Jyothi