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Eyeway National Helpdesk Launch Press Release- 21st December 2015

Mr. Lov Verma , Secretary Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment formally launched the Eyeway helpdesk for the blind at the Ministry’s office in Paryavaran bhawan on December 21st 2015. This is an initiative of Score Foundation with support from the Government, Essel Foundation, Tech Mahindra Foundation and the Hans Foundation.

Now visually impaired citizens of India will be able to call the Eyeway Helpdesk on a toll free number, 1800-300-20469, and get queries addressed in their local language. Herein, trained counsellors will share information, guide and connect the caller with relevant professional solutions.

Eyeway is a single stop knowledge resource centre on life with blindness. It began as a flagship project of Score Foundation and has been empowering blind people in the country by sharing information and advocating for change where required. Over the course of ten years as it became a National movement/Campaign, with a belief that visually impaired people are a potent human resource for the country and they needed to be invested in, there arose a need to build the helpdesk into a network to maximize the impact and outreach of the movement, and make the information accessible to the people. Therefore in October 2015 Enable India-Bengaluru, Navchetna Institute- Patiala, Saksham-Delhi, Mitra jyothi- Bangaluru and National Association for the Blind-Delhi joined hands with Score Foundation for the movement. In the first phase six NGOs across the country have come together. In the next three years more organisations from other parts of India will be invited to join in the network to strengthen the capability of the helpdesk to connect with people, and provide solutions relevant to their respective region and culture .

With the first of its kind partnership, Eyeway is giving the nation a National Helpdesk Toll free number, wherein anyone across India can call in for information and get their queries addressed in their regional languages. Be it regarding living life with blindness, counselling, advocacy, personal or legal matters, government schemes and programs, employment or education, about making an accessible environment etc. A couple from Haryana was refused loan from State Bank of India on the account of blindness. They contacted Eyeway, which further took the matter ahead with the Chairperson of SBI and the problem was resolved. There was another case of a software engineer who had quit his job after losing vision. He got in touch with Eyeway and was referred to an NGO in Bhopal where he honed his mobility skills and learnt to use computer with the help of a screen reader. Also, his parents were counselled to deal with their own apprehensions and help encourage him. Today he works with a multi national software company in Bangaluru. An engagement with Eyeway is often a life changing experience with a caller.

Life does not stop with blindness! It is due to lack of access to information that people with visual impairment are often marginalised and they are unable to lead fulfilling, independent, economic and socially productive lives. Information about disability is often not readily available, and therefore when services are thought of and plans are made people with disability get left out, as the authorised people are not aware or sensitized.

Information has the power to change lives. Hence Eyeway National Helpdesk is giving the country the first of its kind helpline about anything and everything on life with blindness.

The Eyeway Helpdesk Toll-free number has been based on cloud technology, which is being provided by Knowlarity, cloud telephony solutions. This helps leverage faster deployment and change intervention, handling high call volumes, real-time monitoring & reporting, integration of CRM database and easy scalability. Calls will be routed to the nearest Helpdesk agent as per the origin of the call mapped basis the geography/predominant language defined. For instance in the first phase all calls from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh will be routed to EnAble India, Bengaluru. As more partners join the network, calls originating from their defined regions will be routed to them.

“We are very happy to bring the well-established brand of Eyeway to the south of India. Through this toll free helpline we hope to become the information hub for persons with vision impairment in Karnataka. We also intend to provide technical support for employability and employment of persons with vision impairment for the country. We congratulate Score Foundation and George for this wonderful initiative and full heartedly support the same” said Dipesh Sutariya, Co-Founder & CEO, EnAble India, one of the partner organisations.

“The Eyeway toll free number could revolutionise the way blind and visually impaired citizens approach their lives. Lives are shaped by the knowledge and understanding people have. This toll-free number is going to open up a World of knowledge and understanding about a life with blindness. Potential will be transformed into real possibilities. Augers well for the country!” said George Abraham CEO of Score Foundation

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