OBJECTIVES AND IMPLEMENTATION APPROACHES :
Vidya Vrikshah is committed to the spread of knowledge in two broad perspectives :
- Ancient Indian contributions to knowledge for all time; and
- Modern Global initiatives for education across disability
The first perspective addresses a need for preservation and dissemination for the benefit of contemporary society, of the rich ancient heritage of Indian culture going back to over three millenia and coming to us in a remarkably preserved oral tradition and also through inscriptions in stone, metal and palm leaves. All this will speak for itself through the relevant presentations in this website. The second perspective however, calls for some introductory elaboration here. This objective here is to bring literacy, education, and training for early preventive intervention and rehabilitation skills, free and at their door-step, to the millions of socially and physically disadvantaged, specially the visually impaired, using all ossible methods, old and new, including the latest tools of Information Technology wherever possible.
Vidya Vrikshah is unusual and unconventional in respect of its organization and methods for the implementation of its objectives, The key elements here that all the needed resources of money, material, time and effort for the conduct its activities are shared or contributed by its Volunteers and its two partner organizations, one from Academia and the other from Industry, in such a way that Vidya Vrikshah’s public donation income can be applied in its entirety to reach end-beneficiaries.
(a) Volunteers have used the IIT Software Package on Computers, to create a large archive of web presentations in Indian languages and in English and place them on Vidya Vrikshah’s website at www.vidyavrikshah.org These presentations cover among other things, presentations relevant to Literacy, Education, and Training, specially for the disabled.
(b) Volunteers trained a large number of disabled persons (mainly blind), as also teachers and trainers in using computers with the IIT Computer Software Package. The special software along with training in its use, has been provided free of charge by Vidya Vrikshah, as of end – 2007, to over 500 such persons from all over India. At the beginning of 2008, in order to concentrate on other activities, and for placing the training activity on a stronger institutional basis, Vidya Vrikshah’s training activity and resources were transferred to and integrated with Worth Trust’s Training Centre at KK Nagar, Chennai.
(c) Volunteers have arranged for corporate and individual donations of used computers, which were then refurbished and given along with the software and training to over 100 blind schools and inclusive mainstream schools, mainly in Tamilnadu.
(d) Volunteers demonstrated the use of computers for producing braille material by producing and distributing a monthly children’s braille magazine in Tamil and distributing them to all Blind schools in Tamilnadu from 2004 to 2006.
(e) Volunteeers developed and demonstrated use of a variety of hardware and software solutions to enable the use of computers by persons with all types of disabilities, including biplegia, quadriplegia, autism, cerebral palsy, low vision and no vision.
(f) Volunteers played an active role in the dissemination of the Universal Braille Kit Project (UBK). This is a Kit of 8 devices, some of them, new original designs by Vidya Vrikshah and some, existing standard products. The Kit, accompanied by simple instruction manuals in the local languages, was designed to enable any literate person anywhere in India, to learn and teach their use by blind children, on how to read and write, count and calculate and draw and measure, the elements that make for basic literacy. The eight devices are as listed and illustrated below :
(i) the Vasantha Braille Cube : to form and read braille letters of the alphabet of any language;
(ii) the Natesan Block : to form and read braille words;
(iii) the Vikas Block : to form and read braille sentences;
(iv) the Braille Slate : to learn/teach how to write in braille;
(v) the Alphabet Plate : to learn / teach normal handwriting in any language;
(vi) the Abacus : to learn / teach how to count and calculate
(vii) the Taylor Frame : to learn / teach mathematics; and
(viii) the Geometry Set : to learn / teach how to draw and measure.
The UBK is manufactured as already stated, by Worth Trust, and made available by them at a no profit price of Rs 500 per Kit (US$ 10). Vidya Vrikshah has undertaken to collect public donations to cover this cost, and as of 01-01-2010, over 20000 Kits have been reached to blind children all over India. It has also been sent in sizeable numbers to Afro-Asian countries. Vidya Vrikshah is committed to working for a Kit to be placed in the hands of every blind child in India as a matter of right.
(g) The Nina Universal Braille Teacher : This is an electronic teaching device designed by Vidya Vrikshah, that speaks out the letter of the alphabet and its braille code in any language, when the the braille code ascertained from a ready reckoner card, is entered through switches on its keypad. This device has been developed at a unit cost of Rs 700, and 100 Units have been sent for apppraisal to blind schools in different States in January, 2010.
(h) The Mobile Blind School Project : This Project has been formulated by Vidya Vrikshah in response to the challenges posed by the fact that the World has a blind population of 161 million, 90 percent of them in the third world, 10 million in India alone, and living in conditions of abject poverty. Large numbers of blind children are not able to come to blind or mainstream schools by reasons of distance, expense, safety or even of the schools not accepting them on the plea that they do not have the skills or equipment to teach them. Our logic is simple : IF BLIND CHILDREN CANNOT COME TO THE SCHOOLS,THE SCHOOLS MUST GO TO THEM
Our solution is to reach the UBK to huge numbers of blind children at their homes and train them along with their family members. This reach is accomplished by a MobileBlind School Unit built around a three wheeler motor cycle and driven around by a trainer who will reach into homes to deliver the Kits and undertake the training. More details on the Project are provided in our Disability-related presentations in this website.
Vidya Vrikshah, New No 3, Tiruveedi Amman Street,
R.K.Nagar, Chennai – 600 028
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tele : 044-24414741 (Dr Alamelu Ramakrishnan)