National Initiative for the Blind (NIB)

Project Brief: Provide Universal Braille Kits to as many blind children as possible to the socially and the physically disadvantaged in the country.
Project Type: Disabilities (description)
Primary Focus: children with disabilities (description)

Secondary Focus: other

Area: Rural
Supporting Chapter Contact: Arizona
Status: completed - requirements ended
Project Steward: Nirmal Govind
Project Partner(s): N. Krishnaswamy
Other Contacts: Krishnan Narasimhan
Project Address: , 3, Tiruveedi Amman St, R.K.Nagar,,Chennai,
TAMIL NADU  600 028
Tel: (91) 44-4937926, 4936358
Stewarding Chapter: Arizona
Oct 2005ArizonaUSD 500
Jun 2005ArizonaUSD 3500
Aug 2004ArizonaUSD 3500

Total = $7500

Using a Braille Embosser donated to Vidya Vrikshah by Asha Seattle, Dhrushti, a monthly children's braille magazine in Tamil is being sent to 25 Blind Schools in Tamil Nadu since January, 2004. Trained two instructors of the blind of the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Institute for the Handicapped, Sikkim, at the instance of Asha Colorado. Funds requested to manufacture the UBKs'.

Blind literacy:
~ 4 Million Blind in India (~ 10% are kids)
< 1% literacy rate among blind

2004-2005 UPDATE
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NIB is a collaboration between Vidya Vrikshah and IIT Madras. Vidya Vrikshah (VV) is an association of people drawn together, by devotion, to the free spread of knowledge, devoid of profit. VV believes in implementing these objectives through community mobilization and participation. NIB?s long-term goal is to mainstream the disabled and bring about socio-economic change. By employing a unique methodology that uses simple and inexpensive tools, and reaches out to the mother of the blind child, the NIB project attempts to enable the blind child at a much earlier stage. It also has a software component that accelerates the learning process of the blind child. The NIB project has developed the Universal Braille Kit (UBK), which consists of innovative tools such as the Vasantha Cube and the Natesan Block that help the blind child learn the alphabet and one of several suppported languages. Asha AZ has funded the manufacture of 1000 UBKs, which will be distributed to blind children through several organizations and blind schools across the country.

Project II (Proposal submitted in September 05)
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Asha AZ is currently evaluating this proposal. The software solution from the IIT Chennai, makes it possible for anyone quickly learn to use computers, to create text in all Indian languages and produce them in local language or in braille versions on the screen for proof reading by the sighted. The text can then be transmitted as email attachments to Vidya Vrikshah or any other location where Braille Embossers are available and can be used to produce the text in embossed braille versions, which can then be sent free by post to whoever asks for it.

These facilities will be utlitized by Vidya Vrikshah to provide voice-enabled text books, magazines or news sheets, along with braille versions, for blind students in local languages (or also English). These possibilities have already been demonstrated by Vidya Vrikshah on its website. Importantly, anyone who does not have a computer or the above software, can avail of another related solution, viz. the proposed Online Braille Service.
Short-term: Provide Universal Braille Kits to as many blind children as possible.
Long-term: Mainstream disabled: bring about socio-economic change!

UBK consists of:
Vasantha Cube : to learn to read letters in braille
Natesan Block : to learn to read words in braille
Braille Slate & Stylus : to learn to write in braille
Alphabet Block : to learn hand-writing in normal letters
Abacus : to learn to count and calculate
Geometry Box and drawing wheel : to learn to draw and measure
White Cane : to learn mobility skills
A simple Instructor?s Manual (in any desired language)

Vidya Vrikshah (VV) is an association of people drawn together, by devotion, to the free spread of knowledge, devoid of profit. VV believes in implementing these objectives through community mobilization and participation.

VV has a strength of over 150 volunteers, contributing various services in pursuit of the above objectives. These volunteers are drawn from housewives, senior citizens and professionals, and include many persons who have retired from very senior positions in Government and Industry. The volunteers also include some who are visually impaired, but have overcome their disabilities in exemplary ways.
A small group constituted as a public charitable trust functions as a nodal point for handling the essential coordination and technical tasks.

VV?s Centre for Disability Research, Development and Training has designed and developed stand-alone and web-based IT solutions to reach out to persons with all types of disabilities throughout the country in the local languages. Details of these solutions can be seen on the Website www.intend2001.org.in/ (website of INformation Technology ENablers for persons with Disabilities (INTEND).

Website: www.vidyavrikshah.org
http://acharya.iitm.ac.in

Registration Number (Public Trust Act): 149/4 of 1999 dated 09-02-1999 of the Sub-Registrar, Mylapore

Tax Exemption Certificate Number: u/s 12A(a) of the Income Tax Act in Ref No. DIT (E)
No.2 (15) / 1999-2000 dated 19-05-1999 of the Director of Income Tax
(Exemptions), Chennai.

Exemption Valid Dates: u/s 80G: Current validity from 01-04-2004 to 31-03-2006
FCRA Clearance: Vidya Vrikshah partners with Relief Foundation that has FCRA clearance. In addition, Worth Trust, the organization that manufactures the UBKs has FCRA clearance.