With the support and encouragement of Meera Badve, Founder and Director of the Niwant Andh Mukta Vikasalaya, Pune, thousands of visually challenged people have re-invented themselves and are living a life filled with hope. From selling chocolates to programming for Google, they are unleashing their potential to the fullest. “There is no limit to what visually challenged people can do. We are the ones who are blind to the possibilities,” says Mrs. Badve.
Mrs. Meera Badve started Niwant Andh Mukta Vikasalaya in 1996. Niwant was a dream then. Mrs. Badve had nothing else other than her own house, talent, and a strong will to devote her life for the cause of upliftment of the visually challenged students-telling them that education was their birth right.
The results of Mrs. Badve’s hard work are clearly visible today-
More than 2000 students have walked out of Niwant as self-reliant individuals.
Every student from Niwant has passed Higher Secondary Education and most have them have graduated in from various streams.
Some of them are pursuing their Ph.D.
Many topped in their respective academic fields.
150 members enrolled every year.
22 different subjects taught from almost every stream of higher education- Law, Commerce, Library Science, MCM, Arts, Science, Bakery, Dancing, to name a few.
16 Braille library branches in Maharashtra and 1 at Goa with a humungous collection of over 3000 Braille books, rendered free-of-cost to the needy.
Today, team Niwant has people from various age groups-retired personnel, housewives to young college students. They help in recording audio materials for the students, translating and typing in the local Marathi language, volunteering as scribe for exams and many more. Experts from IT field all have formed a human chain and are giving a slice of their life for the noble cause.
Many students from Niwant are now employed in various fields as Bank Officers, legal advisors, counselors, teachers, Software Developers; in Railways, P.W.D., Tata Yazaki, Minda Sai, Seed InfoTech; as Telephone operators, Lift Operators, Braille Printers, proof readers, hardware administrators, technical translators for German and Japanese.
Sound mind dwells in a sound body
Niwant has produced International Level Cricketers and Chess players. 120 students of Niwant conquered the Torana Fort this year. 21 girls completed Pinkathon- four of them ran 10 km with a record timing of 59 minutes. Niwant is always fledged with myriad activities- dancing, drawing, singing, planting trees, donating blood, imitating bird calls, performing yoga and mallakhamb, Judo, playing cricket and organizing state level tournaments, skating and many more.
Noteworthy success stories
A group of students has formed “Television” – a software writing firm which is receiving many projects including 9 paid projects by Boardwalk – a U.S. based company
Another group works on ‘Choco Niwant’ – the excellent chocolate making unit
Others are engaged in Braille card writing, making paper bags and organdy flowers, origami handicraft
Amol Kharche, a student at Niwant, is a member of the Indian Blind Cricket team and was the hero of the Blind Cricket World Cup 2014 when he took 2 crucial wickets against Pakistan in the final match, paving a way for India’s victory.
A small video clip that presents the story:
SO CAN ‘EYE’
Many are now married, have children and are leading a mainstream life through Niwant’s efforts. Moreover, they are now contributing back, channeling their effort through the alumni club, ‘So Can Eye’. They have not forgotten their institution, infact they are playing a stellar role, many of the settled ones donating around Rs 20,000 to Niwant to help younger members get an education. She is proud of the fact that begging bowls were replaced by Braille books. Self-respect is the motto of Niwant where vision is no bar.
“They are no longer an unproductive part of the society.They, too, have contributed to the beauty of the world!”
-Mrs. Meera Badve
Mrs. Badve was honored with the “Tata Chemicals Desh Ka Namak Award” for being an inspiring hero of the Nation-2014 (for having contributed to nation building). Through the nationwide campaign, Tata Chemicals collected 200 inspirational stories.
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#GiveKidsSpace - How A Twitter Campaign Reminded Us To Rethink Children’s Safety
For all parents, our children are our world. We nurture them to the best of our abilities – best schools, best teachers, good nutrition, you name it. We move mountains and swim deep seas, to ensure that our children have a safe and happy environment to grow up in. But while negotiating these important cornerstones of a child’s upbringing, do we overlook or choose to ignore, the minor details of our child’s safety that stare us in the face?
Every morning, across India, thousands of parents bid goodbye to their children as they board a school van or a rickshaw, which remains the most popular choice of transportation for kids to school. But We bid our kids goodbye, without even paying heed to important concerns such as ‘What is the seating capacity of the vehicle?’, ‘What is the driver’s background?’, ‘Does this vehicle have a first-aid box?’, ‘How old is this vehicle?’. The ‘highest measure’ of security that we take is to have the driver’s phone number and have faith in the fact that ‘This driver picks up kids all over the neighbourhood. My child isn’t alone.’ But is this enough? Or should we do something more?
It is common, yet unknown, that the modes of transportation our children use to get to school are over-crowded. We know that three people riding a two-wheeler is unsafe, but we ignore that a school van with a seating capacity for six people, ferrying over a dozen kids is equally unsafe. An overcrowded vehicle makes children more vulnerable to injuries. And these aren’t just accidents and mishaps; even a sudden brake applied can cause a grievous injury. And with no first-aid handy, the situation becomes even more deplorable. We parents care, of course, we do. But, perhaps we have never thought of the consequences.
Nothing is more important for parents than their children’s well-being. However, while mapping every detail of their lives, why are we lacking awareness in this particular, important aspect?
Recently, Reliance General Insurance was seen making an effort on this subject with a very unique and creative Twitter campaign – #GiveKidsSpace. They used the hashtag and wrote a series of tweets without any space between the words. Many people joined the campaign and shared their experience on Twitter using the hashtag – #GiveKidsSpace
The campaign with its innovative use of Twitter format and empathy drove home the point, “If reading a cramped up sentence with no space between words is inconvenient, imagine the inconvenience of the children.”
There are many facets of child safety, each as important as the other, and we need to discuss them more. It is good to see Reliance General Insurance call out on one of the most obvious aspects of child safety. The campaign’s creativity and the subsequent impact, reminds us that while we sweat it out on the big details of our children’s lives, we often ignore the small ones that might prove fatal.
We request all parents to emphasise on preventive measures to ensure that our children go to school, to build their future, in a vehicle that is SAFE. The following steps from your side will ensure safety in the long run –
– Ask your child if the vehicle driver over speeds?
– Does your child get to sit comfortably?
– If you find the driver is overloading the vehicle, initiate a conversation with the parents of other kids, discuss with them why the problem needs attention and collectively approach the driver to strictly adhere to the legally permissible limits only.
The Logical Indian community thanks and appreciates the effort by Reliance General Insurance to create awareness among people on child safety.