News Letter 2020-2021
NEW YEAR, NEW ADVENTURES
A New Volunteer is here!
Mrs. Muriel Milhau, a French Volunteer, joined our ever-expanding Jyothirgamaya Family at the start of the year. Mrs. Milhau came all the way from France to be with our students, to learn from them, to learn alongside them, and to share her vast knowledge and expertise with all of us! We had many memorable moments with Mrs. Milhau, some of which occurred during our various outings with her!
Out to see some Elephants!
Mrs. Muriel took our students on a tour of the elephant sanctuary, where all our students had a marvellous experience! They watched as the elephants bathed and ate, and even got to feed the elephants! This for the blind is indeed a new concept, because they are usually not permitted to touch animals here in India. It was exciting to see them playing with the elephants with great enthusiasm, amazement and happiness! We are grateful to Muriel for offering our students this wonderful experience, and for her innovative idea!
A New Year, A New Start – Inaugaration of Vocational Training Centre
Jyothirgamaya adds another feather to its cap with the launch of the new Vocational Training Centre. This center was inaugurated by Sub-collector Ms. Pranjali Patel, IAS, who is also a member of our visually impaired community. Ms. Patel is a shining example of unwavering independence and bravery. This inauguration was made possible by one of our valued donors, POWER FINANCE CORPORATION, for whose unconditional support we are eternally grateful!
In order for our students to get the best facilities and access to vocational training, Jyothirgamaya has partnered up with the organisation “WE CREATE LIVES,” which works to empower people with disabilities by training them in a variety of activities! We Create Lives will be collaborating with us to train our students in a variety of
handicraft and vocational skills!
Our Founder and three of our students took part in the Technopark inclusive walk. The goal was to sensitize the employees about the inclusion of people with disabilities, the trans community, and other minority groups. Naveen Pande, Simon, and Nishitha, three of our students, spoke about their experiences and how they envision an inclusive environment!
State Student Convention Program
Our Found er was one of the speakers at the students’ state convention held at Government Engineering College, Barton Hill, Trivandrum, where she talked about disability, inclusion, and how students can use their technological skills for the betterment of the society, such as designing technologies and applications that are available to people with disabilities.
O Womania! – Women’s Day
Ms. Tiffany, our founder, attended a number of Women’s Day events. Starting with Daily View, an organization that works with women who have suffered domestic abuse and other forms of gender-based violence. She also addressed the crowd at the Night Run hosted at Technopark, and also a small audience at Ambala Nagar Residence. The main highlights of Ms. Brar’s speeches were gender equality, inclusion of women with disabilities, equal pay, and her ideas on reversing gender roles.
Road to Independence Camp – Thrissur
The Kerala Varma College in Thrissur hosted our “Road to Independence” training camp. Ms. Tiffany Brar and our team of special educators joined the pupils. The camp was packed with educational and recreational opportunities designed to inspire and broaden the horizons of our students.The key highlights of the camp were the basic management of an Android phone and the use of various apps relating to financial education. Aside from that, the students also took part in a nature walk and a cultural programme at the end of their stay. The faculty at Kerala Varma College were incredibly welcoming, and the “Disability Cell” in particular was very supportive of us and welcomed us to another camp with them!
INK Retreat – Bangalore
Tiffany, as an INK fellow in 2019, had the chance to pitch her proposal and share her experience with the INK fraternity again at the INK retreat in Bangalore in February.
Our work during the Lockdown!
With the start of the Covid 19 Pandemic and the ensuing lockdown, the foundation was forced to close, and our students were forced to return to their homes, which were distributed throughout the country. Despite the fact that this was a difficult time for our students and teachers, everyone was encouraged to discover opportunities to educate themselves and become acquainted with new ways to learn in this setting.
On websites such as UNICEF Agora, Web key IT, and Coursera, the faculty and our founder enrolled in classes such as mobility training, disabilities and inclusion, and assistive technology. This additional information provided the faculty with a greater understanding of the lockdown situation and assisted the faculty in determining the best ways to reach out to the students.
Dragonflies Everywhere have held workshops on fundraising, branding, and NGO management for the faculty. During this time, our Founder, Ms. Tiffany, also held numerous online sensitization sessions and took some lessons on access technology for some experienced learners. We also helped the students prepare for competitive exams during this period.
We began physical classes with four students as soon as we received approval from Health Department, and we educated them in advanced coding and interpersonal skills. These students were also taught how to use online tools such as Zoom, Google Meet, MS Squad, and Google Forms.
During this period, we entered into a partnership with US Technology, a well reputed international organization, who helped us with our language and interpersonal skills training. We are very thankful to the UST team for assisting us with this initiative and for bringing about such significant positive impact on our students. Midway through the lockdown, we had two more students join us, Ramla and Sainaba, two blind sisters. Both of them had come from a very orthodox family, and despite having left their homes for the first time, they performed really well during the sessions!
With this new batch of students, we had a session with the reserve bank of India, on financial inclusion. The students were informed about their rights to financial institutions as disabled people, and the students felt more informed and confident of financial knowledge and independence, post this session.
Our course for the year ended with the onset of Christmas. Mr Sundarlal Sundaram, one of our well-wishers, who is of the ardent belief that blind people have the right to enjoy themselves and have fun, just as their sighted counterparts, took us for an adventure trip. As part of this trip, students fished for the first time, and also went swimming under the water falls. It was extremely delightful to see the students filled with such excitement and enthusiasm.
Food Distribution during Lockdown
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a significant number of blind people, particularly those working on a daily wage basis, lost their source of income. Tiffany, our founder, was by a couple of the individuals who had to face those unfortunate conditions, and they had requested food assistance. Ms. Tiffany reached out to twenty such families and provided them with food parcels.
THE BEGINNING OF 2021
With the beginning of the new year, we welcomed a new batch of ten students. The students were exceptionally bright and excited to learn and explore their surroundings. This time, we were joined by two little boys, Vasudev in fourth grade and his older brother Dinadev in seventh grade. Basic and advanced training in access technologies, outdoor accessibility skills, and multiple online sessions led by UST Global and other faculty at Jyothirgmaya Foundation were among the activities in which the students participated.
Music for the Soul
We have entered into a new field, the field of music, based on the suggestions of our students. Professionals teach Tabla and Keyboard to the students twice a week. Students now have the ability to explore their skills in yet another field thanks to their exciting new suggestion and activity.
Reaching Out to Students
Due to the pandemic, people were unable to venture out, and reach out to us. We at Jyothirgamaya reached out to some of our students at home during these trying times, and we have included them into our residential trainings!
Time for some Adventure!
Despite all obstacles, we were able to take our students on an all-inclusive adventure trip to a resort on the lovely island of Poovar! Our team coordinated the outing, and our students were overjoyed. The students were ecstatic to be riding motorbikes, an activity that is very rare for blind people due to all of the limitations and regulations associated with the sport. There were a variety of activities available, including a rain dance and a swimming pool. Our students’
zeal for playing in the water knows no bounds!
Achievement of the Year
Obtaining special consultative status from the UN ECOSOC (Social and Economic Council) was a landmark moment in the history of our organisation. This grants us the opportunity to attend UN conventions, share our views on disability related issues, and engage in events!
Important Thank You Note
We would like to thank the following organizations for there unhindered support to us, and we hope to continue our blossoming relationship with them:
3.We Create Lives
4.Power Finance Corporation
Our dream is an inclusive Kerala, where blind works, enjoy, and live well. But we can only achieve this dream together, not alone! Please join hands with us in making a difference in the lives of the blind, through your volunteering, mentoring, as well as your benevolent contributions!
No donation is too small for us.
Our Bank account for Indian donors
Account Name: Jyothirgamaya foundation,
Account no: 6811567978
Account type: Current, IFSC: KKBK0000594,
Name of the bank: Kotak Mahindra Bank, Vellayambalam
Our FCRA account for foreign donors
Our FCRA account opening is still in process.
By making donations to Jyothirgamaya you are eligible for tax exemption under section 80G
of Income Tax Act 1961