Early 19th century French educator Louis Braille had invented a universal system for reading and writing for people who are blind or visually impaired. Every year Louis Braille’s birth anniversary 4th January is celebrated globally as World Braille Day with the aim of spreading awareness about the importance of Braille as a communication support tool for the visually impaired people, and to talk about equal rights and opportunities for them.
On World Braille Day 2023, The CSR Journal takes a look into Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives undertaken in the last one year for supporting visually impaired people.
SBI Foundation’s ‘Dialogue in the Dark’ Centre in Mumbai
SBI Foundation, the CSR arm of the State Bank of India announced in October last year that they have partnered with ACE Social Foundation to launch an empathy experience centre, ‘Dialogue in the Dark’. It is located at Maker Chambers III at Nariman Point, Mumbai.
‘SBI Foundation’s Centre of Excellence for PwDs endeavours to sensitise and build awareness among the general public on the abilities of PwDs, specifically the visually impaired, through this carefully crafted immersive experience blended with fun, curiosity and teamwork. The ‘Dialogue in the Dark’ centre in Mumbai is open to corporates and the public, without any entry fee,’ they shared.
Bajaj Allianz Life’s Diwali Initiative for Poona Blind School
Bajaj Allianz took an initiative to make Diwali brighter for the children of Poona Blind School last year. The company announced that they will print in Braille heartfelt wishes shared by people for the festival and deliver it to the visually impaired children of Poona Blind School.
Lions Clubs International Foundation and Johnson & Johnson Vision’s Sight for Kids program
Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF), the charitable arm of Lions Clubs International and Johnson & Johnson Vision recently announced that they have completed 20 years of successful partnership in the Sight for Kids program, a school-based eye health program operating in India, Kenya, Thailand, Philippines and United States. Sight for Kids in India has reportedly been working in Kerala, Telangana, West Bengal and Jharkhand.
To promote early detection and care, teachers have also been given training in basic eye health, as per the announcement.
Refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism) is a common diagnosis which can be easily corrected with eyeglasses. However, if left untreated, severe visual impairment and blindness may eventually occur.
‘In West Bengal alone, 18 million school going children have benefitted from the vision screening, referral and advanced treatment through the program. 30 eye care clinics/hospitals and 20,000 teachers in 7303 schools are part of the program,’ they announced in November, 2022.
Samsung’s Galaxy Upcycling program
On the occasion of World Sight Day in October 2022, Samsung announced that their Galaxy Upcycling program has set a target of screening 150,000 individuals in India for eye diseases by the end of 2023. As part of the Samsung is giving new life to older Galaxy devices to reduce electronic waste and aims to enable greater access to ophthalmic health care among the underserved communities.
To diagnose patients, Samsung announced that it has partnered with four hospitals – Sitapur Eye Hospital in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh, Aravind Eye Hospital in Pondicherry, Guruhasti Chikitsalya in Jodhpur, Rajasthan and Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital in New Delhi to set up eye care camps and use the devices in vision centers, vans and base hospitals across the country. An older Galaxy smartphone becomes the brain of the handheld camera, capturing images while connected to a lens attachment for enhanced diagnosis.
Titan Eye+’ eye screening initiative
On the occasion of World Sight Day in October 2022, Titan Eye+ announced that they aim to conduct one million eye screenings through on-ground activations across 800+ stores and 5000+ optical shops. The initiative of online eye screening is a 10-second test that gives users an indication of whether they suffer from any eyesight problems.
‘Titan Eye+ marks World Sight Day 2022 with the announcement of its vision of a future where every Indian has 20/20 vision, with or without visual aid… World Sight Day, marked annually on the second Thursday of October, is a global event meant to draw attention to blindness and vision impairment; coordinated by IAPB in cooperation with the World Health Organization. The day is especially important for India, as India is home to the world’s largest number of blind people, making up more than 30 percent of the globe’s blind population,’ they stated.
Bajaj Finserv Limited and Sightsavers India’s social inclusion and inclusive education
Bajaj Finserv Limited announced partnership with Sightsavers India in September, 2022 to launch the Social Inclusion and Inclusive Education Programmes in Raisen, Khagariya, Kasganj, and Pratapgarh districts of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan, respectively.
‘Through this association, Bajaj Finserv Limited and Sightsavers will provide support to children who are blind or visually impaired to receive extensive education support while ensuring their inclusion in mainstream education. Children under the age of 5 to 18 years will be supported under this Inclusive Education Programme. Also, 400 children with visual impairment from the four districts will get support and inclusion in mainstream education as part of this programme,’ reads their announcement.
Tata Power Community Development Trust’s new age tech solutions for People with Disabilities
Tata Power Community Development announced in October last year that they are hosting a ‘New Age Tech Expo for People with Disabilities; a one-day experiential showcase, where 13 new-age technology solutions that aid people with disabilities will be demonstrated live to participants. The event was part of Tata Power’s ‘Pay Autention’ initiative and aimed to create awareness among organizations, decision-makers, and corporates about assistive technologies that help these special individuals integrate better into the mainstream and lead more holistic lives.
The assistive technology offerings were demonstrated by Xavier’s Resource Center for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC), IIT Bombay, Torchit, Social Alpha supported enterprise Kidaura. These offerings included new-age tech solutions for dyslexic, visually-impaired, and speech-impaired individuals; assistive equipment for the deaf and mute and physically-impaired individuals; and online therapy as well as therapy delivery platforms for neuro-diverse individuals.
Project Jyoti by Mjunction for e-literacy among visually challenged students
B2B e-commerce company Mjunction services limited announced in July last year that they have begun the second phase of ‘Project Jyoti’, an initiative for visually challenged students in West Bengal. This initiative by Mjunction in collaboration with Paschim Banga Samagra Shiksha Mission, enables digital education to the visually defied students from across Bengal. After training sessions for the students in two batches, from 22nd July to 29th July, visually challenged students were felicitated.
‘The main goal of starting Project Jyoti was to provide solutions and simplify the education platform for those students. Mjunction wanted to providing education through digital means through a process, where a visually challenged student can not only learn the subject well, but also get used to technology. This project aims to solve the learning difficulty faced by visually challenged students while using Braille technique, which is time consuming and monotonous.
The program is designed to let the students use a ‘talk-back’ technology developed by Mjunction using android devices. Each student will get a phone and the phones will have pre-installed apps to help students read the textbooks,’ they shared.
Allcargo Logistics’ eye care camps for truckers
Logistics solutions provider Allcargo Logistics announced in May last year that they have organised a free eye check-up camp for truckers on May 23, 2022 at Sanpada in Navi Mumbai. They further said that they plan to host 15 eye camps around Mumbai to build awareness on the importance of good vision in road safety and offer eye treatment consultations and facilities to address preventable visual impairments, they announced.
The eye camps are hosted by Avashya Foundation, the CSR arm of Allcargo Logistics in association with Saad Foundation. The eye camps aim to benefit more than 6,000 truckers, senior citizens and needy people in the community in Mumbai with eye check-up services, refractive error identification, cataract identification, referral services, distribution of spectacles, investigation support and cataract operation facilities.
The team of ophthalmologists and optometricians from DY Patil Hospital, community volunteers and the representatives of Saad Foundation offered eye care facilities and treatments to truckers at the Sanpada eye camp.
Coromandel International’s eye camp and blindness free campaign
Phosphatic fertilizer company Coromandel International Limited, in collaboration with Sankar Foundation organized a comprehensive eye-related intervention – Coromandel Avoidable Blindness Free Villages in Vizag for 11 Villages surrounding their plant in April last year, they announced.
As part of the campaign, a one-month long blindness free campaign was organized by a team of 50 health professionals with door-to-door eye screening. The teams of ophthalmologists and 3 specialist doctors checked the referred patients at camps organized in the same village. Patients with refractive eyes were reportedly provided with eyeglasses and cataract surgeries and special surgeries were performed by Sankar Foundation as part of their contribution.
Coromandel International Limited also announced around the same time last year that they have organized a mega eye camp at Coromandel Hospital located in Vakalapudi village with Sankurathri Foundation, a reputed eye care institute. With an initiative towards controlling blindness, members were screened during the camp, free of cost spectacles were given to those who need, medicines were distributed and cataract surgeries were performed free-of-cost, the company announced.
Primus Partners and Khabri launch #VoiceOfBlinds initiative
Strategy firm Primus Partners announced in July last year that they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Khabri Audio Pvt. Ltd., a vernacular audio learning platform, for #VoiceOfBlinds skilling initiative to bring about a social change by positively impacting lives of millions of visually impaired people worldwide. With this MoU, both the organizations aim to make a difference in the lives of visually challenged community by aiding inclusivity, improving quality of lives, and empowering the community at large. #VoiceOfBlinds will be rolled out in collaboration with National Association for the Blind.