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Making A Difference With ARISE Impact

posted Oct 10, 2015, 8:48 AM by Erandi P   [ updated Oct 10, 2015, 9:36 AM ]

 

 From Delhi Public school, India, to Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, the journey of Chandani Doshi has been an admirable balance of academic excellence and social conscience. Currently a junior at MIT, majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Chandani has completed her high school from Delhi Public School, Gurgaon, India, where she worked as a teacher assistant at Bagiya, school for the underprivileged and helped in fund raising for the school. She recently volunteered with us at ARISE Impact and worked with the visually challenged students. We interviewed Chandani to learn more about her work at ARISE Impact and experience of working closely with differently-abled children.

 


1.What inspired you to choose ARISE Impact?

I had earlier been involved in working with a group of 150 children who have not been able to get proper education because of economic challenges. ARISE gave me an opportunity to work with visually challenged children, which sensitized me towards their needs.

 

 2.  Tell us about your position and work at arise and how does this position contribute to the organization’s overall mission?

  I worked with ARISE as a volunteer in user research and helped in assessing the application built for visually challenged students.  My job was to perform on-field testing and gather feedback from users on how easy was it to use, how it can be enhanced to make it better, and whether they liked the idea.

 

3. What did you love the most about working with the kids?

Their eagerness to participate and learn how to use the product. I loved seeing their excitement and willingness to use a computer and watching them play the game with enthusiasm.


4. Who are in your team and how has your experience been working with them?

 I worked on my own.

 

5. How has ARISE Impact helped you with your vision of your career?

 It has reinforced the belief I had that the concepts of software engineering can develop products or services that can benefit the community at large.


6.What did you learn about NGO culture and ARISE in general?

The people at an NGO like ARISE work to make a social change through helping the lesser privileged. They are not looking for high monetary gain for themselves. It also requires a lot of patience and perseverance to appreciate and interact with the beneficiaries.  It was a wonderful idea to release the beta version of the application with a simple game as that helped get good feedback.


7.What was the most amazing experience working at ARISE?

Interacting with the visually challenged children was a completely different experience for me.  It helped sensitize me towards their needs, and realize that the product launched by ARISE could be used to help them learn in a fun and efficient manner

 

8.What do you do with your leisure time? 

Mostly read but also enjoy listening to music and watching movies.

 

9. Why do you think one should volunteer? How can the youth be inspired to volunteer?

Brings one closer to the problems around them helping them to understand the problems better, and, therefore, enabling them to provide better solutions. It also sensitizes one to the needs of the community, a better understanding of their own privileges, and provides an opportunity to contribute to the community. 

By Himani Singh


MY JOURNEY WITH A R I S E - Mohit Gupta

posted Aug 17, 2012, 9:57 PM by ARISE Impact Admin

 
It was in Feb 2012 that I had started to look for a meaningful intern during my summer holidays.  It was when I came to know about  A R I S E  and the noble work which this organisation was doing for the cause of underprivileged children specifically blind students. 
 

Since   A R I S E  was also offering an intern relating to technological field so I thought it would be best to do a social intern of designing a game which was my area of interest than doing an intern just for the sake of getting a decent stipend. This is how I got to  associate with A R I S E . Even though my intern carried no stipend but the vast knowledge and experience which it gave me in my first year itself was invaluable.

I realized that the experience which one gets while testing one's software or game on real life user is the most game changing part of a project. It is the key to success for that particular game. One needs to be very careful about the needs of the target audience while designing.

 

I learnt how to co-ordinate among people and also came to know about how to manage a project. Also I was lucky to involve myself deeply into the aim of  A R I S E . In a country like India where there no focused programs are in place for providing basic education to such under privileged students, the families tend to consider such children as special and focus more on their overall upbringing, with the basic courses to send them to, versus trying to make them self sufficient over a period of time. On the flip side, not many "normal" children grow up understanding the sensitivity of dealing with such individuals and end up being indifferent towards them. So organisations like  A R I S E  help such children to achieve their goals in life.

 I am sure that I am able to go as far as I can go with  A R I S E .
 
 
Mohit Gupta       
Volunteer, Game Based Learning Research Project     
Student, IIT (BHU), Varanasi      
 
       
 

Future - augmented?

posted Aug 12, 2012, 10:16 PM by ARISE Impact Admin   [ updated Aug 12, 2012, 10:37 PM ]

 
I recently came across an article in MIT's Technology Review titled "Augmented Reality, Wrapped Around Your Finger" which set me thinking:
 
Will our future be augmented?
 
 
We already forsee augmentation in our information consumption - see News channels on TV like Zee News, where a lot of bars run, or NDTV Profit - where a continuous stream of stock data is run! Isn't that augmentation of some form that's run onto a main show?
 
What I think is that visually challenged would probably be the first to gain advantage of such augmented devices. Why? Simply because they need it the most!
 
Augmented Reality devices could enable them to do a lot of things - true - browse a public library or read off websites ! 
 
 
However, are they going to make them dumb, or in general, us dumb? The more we rely on tech (I have nothing against that - I use my phone a lot! - even phone's meaning has changed from landline to mobile!) the more we tend to stop using our brains! Isn't that true?
 
 
Can there be some balance, where the visually challenged still rely on their touch and audio feedback mediums (in safe environments) and use the augmented reality devices in unknown environments?
 

 

 

A reality check???

posted Jul 9, 2012, 9:40 AM by Rohit Lall

It's a fairly common site to see people being indifferent towards those that are impaired - visually, mentally, hearing or physically... It is a sad reality of life, that most people in India wouldn't bother to even treat such individuals with respect, but with a feeling of pity... Who is to blame for this indifference in attitude that exists amongst people? Why are the impaired people mostly in a situation where they feel inferior to others?

Unlike the west where every individual has his/her own identity irrespective of who they are and what they do, ours is a society with a deep rooted caste based system that seems to be present subconsciously. Let's look at the west for instance.. Every individual is treated with the same level of dignity and respect; people with impairments are given equal opportunities both at education as well as the workplace; and there is a lot of focus on making all public and workplaces easily accessible for such people... They are never looked down upon or treated with a sense of indifference.

In India however, no focused programs are in place for providing basic education to such individuals.. the families tend to consider such children as special and focus more on their overall upbringing, with the basic courses to send them to, versus trying to make them self sufficient over a period of time. On the flip side, not many "normal" children grow up understanding the sensitivity of dealing with such individuals and end up being indifferent towards them..

It is heartening to see Food & Beverage retail companies like Costa Coffee and KFC employ, train, develop and eventually place individuals with either a hearing or speech impairment behind the counter to take orders.. While most customers may never ever realise it, the person taking their order and serving them is someone they otherwise would be totally indifferent towards and treat with a sense of pity...

When will we, the educated, wake up to the reality that people with impairments are human beings first and are very similar to you and me? 

My Experience with A R I S E ~Ankita Goyal

posted Jan 4, 2012, 10:36 AM by Ankita Goyal   [ updated Jan 10, 2012, 2:23 AM ]


            
     By volunteering with A R I S E, I feel like I am making a difference and a sense of accomplishment. I always wanted to help physically challenged people and  A R I S E gave me that platform. I really liked interacting with visually challenged students the most. I think that it's the mentoring that I do, the opportunity to work one-on-one with those students. I know that they look to me whenever I go to blind school, and it's an honor, and I take that responsibility very seriously. It makes me feel really good to see their growth and involvement.

                   We collaborate with visually challenged students and their teachers. A special needs teacher with qualifications in visual impairment supports both the teacher and the child. We cannot work alone without the help of these teachers. I think the number and the kind of problems which a teacher encounters in his work with visually impaired children depends on how supportive of inclusion (or integration) is the whole system of education. In an ideal situation the teacher is not alone. The school has a resource center where Braille is produced, as well as other educational "tools" such as tactile maps or diagrams. We discusses the requirements of our teaching programme with the support teacher and so we dont need to worry about such adaptations and neither we feel a need to learn Braille.   

                   I think the successful integration of visually impaired children starts a long time before school age. As soon as I started my first English lesson with a totally blind child I realized that it wasn't going to be just English. You see, children who were born blind have many gaps in their knowledge of the world. Before you introduce a new English word or a phrase you must make sure that they understand the very concept of what you are trying to teach. The most important thing to accept when working with visually impaired children is that they are children and not different cases of visual impairment. Once you put the child before the medical condition you can concentrate on what the child can do, and not on what you think the child is unable to cope with. I think, with this attitude, real problems - but also solutions - are much easier to spot.

                 I think the biggest challenged that I faced while working in A R I E was to co-ordinate people from different parts of India. I had the most wonderful experience working with A R I S E. I think that A R I S E has the ability to link with existing structures, networks, and infrastructure of any other organisation. In this way, A R I S E is supporting and strengthening rather than building. A R I S E brings people together so they can collaborate, motivate each other, share ideas, and network. A R I S E also shows that together we are stronger than the parts we are made of. I think self-support groups and organisations such as "A R I S E" have given visually impaired children the confidence that they can also be a part of today's world. If I were to name the biggest achievement of A R I S E, I would say that it is showing them that visually impaired children have rights and that there is a brilliant future waiting for them. It will not come to them though. They have to reach for it. 

Can you use PC with your eyes closed? The blind can, and they do!

posted Jan 1, 2012, 10:16 PM by Abhishek Syal

 
A quick visit at NAB, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, was an eye-opener! I had always asked myself: How do you teach navigating a computer screen to the blind ?
 
It seems unthinkable to me as to how a person who cannot see, can actually work on a screen based device...           
 
The method that they used is quite simple and innovative! The computer teacher, Mr. Mutthuraman at NAB (Natinal Association for the Blind), Chennai, told that they use a tactile diagram like the one in picture above to make the visually impaired students familiar with the computer screens!
 
The students share these tactile diagrams amongst themselves and they understand by touch, while the teacher explains about it. Having formed a basic understanding of such diagrams, they now go onto PC to learn about applications such as Word and Excel. They learn using audio assistive software JAWS.
 
 A R I S E 's volunteers have developed customized audio lectures of English grammar in local language across India, thus, aiding self-learning for blind. This has helped the blind students to understand English better, thus, making their working and learning on PC easier!
 
 
 

Create Your Post !

posted Dec 29, 2011, 6:23 PM by Abhishek Syal

:)

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