Over twenty percent of the world’s visually impaired population resides in India. Looked upon with pity and viewed as objects of charity, they often find themselves treated unfairly by family, society and the government. They are not given the same opportunities as their sighted counterparts. Their limited access to information prevents them from leading independent and productive lives.
Eyeway aims to enable persons with blindness and visual impairment to become personally independent, economically self-reliant and integrate well into the social community. Eyeway comprises of a network of partners that disseminates information, provides counselling, conducts research and engages in advocacy.
Eyeway operates a national toll free number: 1800 300 20469. A team of counsellors at help desks across 3 locations respond to a variety of queries that are made on a day to day basis regarding education and employment opportunities, mobility, assistive technology and legal rights for the visually impaired and so on. Eyeway also disseminates relevant information like news alerts and job updates through a Whatsapp group and other social media channels.
Staying up to date with information and news in the domain of visual impairment is a mandate for the Eyeway project. Our research is directed at sourcing, seeking and creating content that is valuable to the world of visual impairment. Our research often feeds into the large knowledge base that our counsellors tap in to time and again to respond to callers.
The Eyeway Website is a comprehensive repository of information and knowledge on living life with blindness. The Eyeway App available on iOS App Store and Google Play give ready access to information and services on mobile devices.
We share inspiring stories, videos and stimulate participation through our social media pages. Eyeway India, our YouTube channel creates, curates and disseminates information about visual impairment. In the past we have produced a first of its kind TV series titled ‘Nazar ya Nazariya’, which was aired in a 13 part series on Doordarshan. The show featured real-life stories of visually impaired and blind achievers across India. We also ran a radio series ‘Eyeway Yeh Hain Roshni ka Karawan’ that was aired on Rajdhani channel, FM Rainbow Delhi and FM Gold Delhi.
Another primary activity of Project Eyeway is advocacy. There is an awareness deficit in the general population towards persons with disabilities. This lack of awareness is also reflected in the policies formulated for the disabled. Attitudinal biases also exist, acting as barriers that have pushed the blind population towards exclusion from the mainstream. Eyeway takes up matters of advocacy where rights are violated and people are discriminated against or where legal provisions are not complied to. In the process, we first approach the entity responsible for rights violation. If that attempt fails, we approach the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) and as a last resort we file a case in the courts. Our counsellors on the help desk urge the callers to stand up for their rights as equal citizens of the country. We provide all possible support to them in their battle for equality and justice.
At present, Eyeway is a network of six organizations based in Delhi, Punjab and Karnataka. The network hopes to expand in the years to come so as to cater to callers from every state of the country in the caller’s native language. We aim to grow into a network of 24 organizations by 2018 mapping the entire country.
THE EYEWAY NETWORK
National Association for the Blind (Delhi)
National Association for the Blind, Delhi has been working towards making visually impaired persons self-reliant and contributing members of the society. Their work ranges from preparing blind children for mainstream education and training them in daily living skills to producing accessible reading material and training them in computers and assistive technology.
Saksham Trust, Delhi
Saksham Trust works towards the empowerment of persons with visual impairment by playing a key role in advocacy and acting as a service provider in the domains of education, rehabilitation, training and assistive technology.
Score Foundation, Delhi
Score Foundation is working towards changing the mindset that exists with respect to blindness and visual impairment. Score foundation is committed to disseminating information that can empower and inform the visually impaired so they are in the know of the myriad possibilities that lie ahead of them to lead an independent life.
EnAble India, Delhi
EnAble India’s core activities include placing persons with disabilities in suitable work spaces. They offer consultancy and training, pre-employment services, supplemental education, counseling and support services as well as technology services.
Mitra Jyothi’s mission is to assist and enable visually impaired individuals to lead independent and dignified lives through education, training, counseling, communication and technology.
Navchetna Institute, Patiala
Navchetna Institute works towards providing free education and rehabilitation facilities to persons with blindness and visual impairment.