The following blog post was written by Juhee Ahmed, Senior Marketing Communications Manager and Corporate Social Responsibility Lead at the Microsoft India Development Center (MSIDC) in Hyderabad. Juhee works to support eye health as part of the MSIDC Giving Campaign.
One of India’s most respected eye-health organizations, the L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), opened a new center today with help from Microsoft that provides much needed computer training to visually-impaired individuals.
The Computer Training Center for the Visually Challenged – Low Vision and Blind is a collaborative initiative between Microsoft and LVPEI at the L V Prasad Eye Institute Campus in Visakhapatnam, India. In its first year, the center is expected to support 128 students.
Employees at the Microsoft India Development Center (MSIDC) played a big role in the center’s opening by making generous contributions during the MSIDC Giving Campaign. This project is part of their ongoing commitment to vision and eye health in India, a commitment that includes other initiatives that expand access to education and employment for people with vision loss.
The new center will use assistive technology, including JAWS, MAGic, NVDA and Window-Eyes screen readers, which read text aloud to a user. AiSquared (formerly GW Micro), in collaboration with Microsoft, provides the free download of Window-Eyes for customers using Microsoft Office 2010 or 2013. This initiative highlights Microsoft’s long-standing commitment to accessibility, says Anil Bhansali, Managing Director of MSIDC. It builds accessibility into its products and services and works with partners to discover new ways that technology can transform people’s lives.
At the center, students can learn how to navigate Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Skype, the Internet, and social networking sites, study programming languages, including C, C++, Java, HTML, and SQL, and explore accounting packages, such as Tally and Focus. Spoken English and other soft skills are also being integrated into the program.
The L V Prasad Eye Institute is a non-profit organization that focuses on rehabilitation for both urban and rural populations. The institute is governed by two trusts: the Hyderabad Eye Institute and the Hyderabad Eye Research Foundation. It also is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Prevention of Blindness and a Global Resource Center for VISION 2020: The Right to Sight initiative.
“This program has the potential to impact the lives of many children by improving their scholastic achievement and enhancing their career opportunities and growth. In addition, this could also act as a model for other institutions in the developing world to replicate,” says Dr. Gullapalli N. Rao, founder and chairman of LVPEI. (Watch an interview with Dr. Rao)
In the months and years ahead, the most meaningful measures of the center’s success will be how it helps students find jobs, expands access to education and supports people’s ability to leverage technology that can improve the quality of their lives, says Dr. Beula Christy, head of the LVPEI Rehabilitation Unit. We hope this program will deliver all this and more.
Other collaborations between LVPEI and MSIDC include: