Dear friends and well-wishers, Hearty greetings from Jyothirgamaya!
Welcome to the newsletter of Jyothirgamaya Foundation for July,2018 to October,2018.
Dear friends, supporters, and well-wishers of Jyothirgamaya! We send you warm Greetings, from Jyothirgamaya Foundation, yet again! Since our last newsletter, we have been on a more interesting and innovative journey, with a wide range of unique activities, with a number of wonderful, energetic and vibrant souls.
With all your care, support and blessings, Jyothirgamaya continues to climb higher and higher up the ladder of success!
Meeting with Emirates
During the month of May, Jyothirgamaya entered in to a dialogue with Emirates airline, one of the most prominent international airlines, on making traveling by air more accessible, and barrier free for persons with visual impairment, and how to take care of them in times of emergency. A meeting was held to discuss these points, and Jyothirgamaya Foundation sensitized the employees and stakeholders.
Our founder was interviewed by the famous anchor Dhanya Varma, for Kerala’s most prominent shows “The Happiness Project” on Kappa TV. The programme had a unique beginning, an eye-opener to the audience. Tiffany giving the anchor a glimpse of the world of the blind, by serving her a meal in the dark! This was followed by Tiffany’s interview, where she expressed her happiness without sight, and her positivity in her work, and what keeps her going this way.
Just as we empower and train others, it is also important to keep our skills up to date, and our energy levels balanced, this can be done by attending some training programmes and getting empowered. Tiffany, our founder attended “The Wild Training Programme” at Srilanka, held by the Mobility International Use, an organization promoting leadership among women.
The month of June greets us with our twelfth multicultural batch of students. Two students from Nepal, and three from Kerala. They were taught orientation &mobility, basic and advanced computing. Adesh and Saugath our Nepali students did exceptionally well in computers and even reached the level of installation of software and basic HTML. This batch also saw some new techniques in adapted physical education. We had two brief visiting well-wishers all the way from Australia. Sarah Nelson, and her partner Linzy, who are also Yoga experts. They introduced our students to Acro yoga, which they enjoyed a lot, and which also enabled them to realize that there are no barriers for blind people.
We also had a young energetic volunteer, probably our youngest, Mayurika ninth standard, enthusiastic socially committed student from Dubai, who played a vital role in integrating our students to the outside world, helping them with their English and motivating them.
Barrier Free Tourism
“Hellen Keller Day” marks the beginning of a new initiative in the state Kerala, of which our organization is a part of barrier free tourism. The government introduced a new initiative of barrier free tourism and making all tourist places barrier free in the state of Kerala, where tourism and travel is most popular. Our founder along with many eminent persons in the disability field gave her inputs on how temples, museums and other places can be made accessible, for instance introducing ramps instead of ramps in the beaches, audio toilets in public places, accessible rooms in hotels, etc.
Our founder actively participated in “The National Consultation for Inclusive and Accessible Elections” at Delhi during the month of July and gave her valuable inputs to make elections free, fair and accessible to persons with visual impairment and initiate Braille election ID cards and also to include persons with disabilities in political process.
National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP)
Our founder also actively participated representing her state at “The National Consultation on the Implementation of the Rights for Persons with Disabilities Act “during the same month at the capital.
Production of 1000 Accessible Rolling Ball White cane for the Blind
We had initially raised funds in order to produce the raw materials for making the rolling balls, rubber grips and white cane we have now produced a hundred sample rolling tip white canes, which have successfully been tested by visually impaired people, and now we are in the attempt to produce one thousand such white canes, and distribute them to as many blind people as possible within India.
Sensitization Programmes on
a) Inaccessible currencies
Tiffany was invited to enlighten the officials of “SBI Foundation” and “Reserve Bank of India”, about the difficulties faced by persons with visual impairment with respect to the present currency notes, the inability to identify them and the lack of financial privacy and the inconvenience and exploitation it leads to. She also enlightened them about the inaccessible ATMs and banking applications, and appealed them to find suitable solutions to make banking more disabled friendly and also to make currency easily identifiable as earlier.
b) Plight of persons with disabilities
Tiffany attempts to pull of the wool over the eyes of the elite children of the Vivek High School, Chandigarh by giving them an awareness session on the plight of persons with disabilities, how to treat them, behave with them and how to integrate them and treat them as they would treat themselves. She also highlighted on the fact that these children were far more fortunate than many others and that they should never miss an opportunity to help someone else in need, cash, kind, words, or even a smile.
c) Gender Equality
Our founder being a woman with disability is an ardent believer of gender equality and women empowerment. She actively participates in “The Vande Keralam Event” which advocates for gender equality. One of Kerala’s most famous Radio Jackie and social activist Kidilam Firoz, goes on a three hunger strike and is handcuffed this he does to promote gender equality. He travels across Trivandrum, to collect the voices of women and girls tucked away in the nooks and corners of the state and also of college and school girls and makes their problems known to the government. Here Tiffany gives her opinions on gender equality, and also highlights the difficulties being faced by women with disabilities and how the society can change their attitude.
Flood relief work
Jyothirgamaya actively plays its role in helping Kerala in the time of natural calamity by traveling from door to door collecting necessary items and sending to a tribal colony in Wayanadu.
Onam celebration and audio library inauguration
The beginning of September brings Jyothirgamaya to the inauguration of a new project an audio library. Jyothirgamaya celebrates Onam with the students of economics department of Government Women’s College and also inaugurates its new audio library, with an aim to make reading material accessible to blind people in all possible formats. New clothes (Onnakkodi) were also distributed to the Jyothirgamaya students by the women’s college. We had almost twenty of our students and more than forty students from the women’s college. A short cultural programme was also conducted with active participation of all students and staff of Jyothirgamaya and women’s college and our old friend Samuel from Germany, who had just arrived. This marks the symbol of integration and oneness between blind and sighted. This was also followed by an elaborate Sadhya sponsored by a north Indian family living in Kerala.
This month also brings to us our students of the 13th batch. With two high spirited girls from Raipur and Mumbai, and four students from Kerala. Many different activities were introduced during this batch in fact it is one of the most unique batches in the history of our organization. The students instantly plunged in to the intense learning of access technology, which they were not at all acquainted to before, they learned how to use a cane, they visited the museum, which was made accessible to us by the officials, and also went on many interesting adventure trips to a waterfall, beach and much more!
As a part of recreation an entertainment our access technology trainer Balarman sir, taught the students the unique art of chess, which is a prominent sport practiced by the blind. Our friend and volunteer Samuel also used his creativity to the fullest by making a wooden Ludo game for the students too, which they play quite frequently in the evenings along with chess. During this batch we also have three more new members in the Jyothirgamaya Family, Anna from Canada, Lena from Germany and Julie from Belgium. Each of these volunteers has their own unique specialties and expertise to offer to our students. Theatre and body expression is introduced by Julie, new applications with regards to IOS and android are introduced by Anna, and art and craft is introduced in a small way by Lena. The students start by making small bead bracelets and plastic flower vases. A workshop on intercultural dialogue to introduce a healthy intercultural exchange and broaden our students intercultural knowledge is also conducted with these three energetic dedicates volunteers.
Training and empowerment
The Jyothirgamaya team comprising of Tiffany, Balaraman sir and Samuel, attend an echolocation workshop conducted by world access for the blind at the NAB India center Delhi, under Jyothirgamaya’s coordination. They learn the basics of echolocation and will soon impart it at a further level.
Tiffany Brar, our founder got yet another opportunity to spread her wings at national level, through “India’s best Dramebaz”, a well known children’s programme on Zee TV. Here two exceptionally talented children enacted Tiffany’s life story and Tiffany felicitated them and also spoke about her life and the challenges faced by the blind. She received appreciation from the famous Hollywood actor Vivek Oberoi and also was presented with “The Real Hero Award”.
Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)
Our founder delivered a sensitization session for the employees of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). She spoke about stress management and also highlighted on the fact of how they should behave with persons with visual impairment and physical impairment in airport while escorting and helping them.
Awareness session on importance of accessibility
Tiffany Brar gave the keynote address at a disability studies seminar conducted by the English department of Panampali Government College, Chalakudi where she spoke on accessibility and the importance of making study materials accessible for visually impaired persons.
Women Empowerment Programme
Jyothirgamaya yet again initiates a new project, women empowerment workshops for blind women and girls. Our first camp in this project was conducted at Sri Kerala Varma College, Thrissur. Sessions were conducted in reproductive health, orientation mobility, android use and accessible banking applications.
Pinkathon and white cane awareness
Pinkathon day was celebrated on 21st October as awareness against breast cancer and also as a symbol of women empowerment. More than four hundred women participated in this programme, including Tiffany, our founder. This was followed by a white cane awareness walk, where a few of the women were blindfolded and made to walk with a white cane. They were guided by our young radiant visually impaired girls Jeelu and Muskan. This was a totally new experience for them and gave them a glimpse of the life of the blind and how they can do their day to day things. It filled the atmosphere with a mixture of feelings and positive energy.
Wild Women Workshop
Jyothirgamya conducts its first ever cross disability women leadership workshop WILD women institute of leadership and disability, in collaboration with Mobility International USA. The workshop was conducted on November 25th with twenty women of all disabilities at the Winsor Rajadhani. The workshop comprised of different sessions on a variety of subjects pertaining to women well -being.
Adventure Trips Thenamala
Jyothirgmaya had its yearly inclusive tour to Thenmala ecotourism place and Kuttallam waterfalls with one of our benevolent well wishers and adventure lovers Mr. Sundarlal Sundaram.
It was a two day tour with a lot of adventure and unique experiences such as water balloons, rope riding, rope climbing and much more. The students also had an opportunity to try their hands at poetry too, and on the hole it was a unique experience for all.
Hellen Keller Award
Tiffany Brar received her second National Award for her exemplary work towards empowering persons with disabilities ,ensuring inclusiveness, equality and being a role model on 3rd of December,2018 on the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities . She received HELLEN KELLER award from Dr.Sathyapal Singh, Honorable Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Government of India. which was organized by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) .
Jyothirgamaya in Media
To watch please click the hyperlink
- Mathrubumi Kappa TV The Happiness Project
- Real Hero Award Life of Tiffany Brar
- Inspiring storiesTifffany Brar is best role model
Jyothirgamaya looks forward to let its shine in all directions and make that difference everyone needed, to spread that fire & spice and spread smile on the face that are wary and sad!
We urge to bring the blind out and make the world receptive to them.
This we can only do if you join hands with us, energies with us and support us. you may feel free to get involved with us, by volunteering or donating.
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