Limited to 17 handpicked students for Kerala and Tamilnadu, Chakshumathi’s 4th Annual Eyes Free Science Summer Camp started at the serene Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanical Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI) in the foot hills of Sahya Mountains in Palode 40 Km away from Capital Thiruvanthapuram on 17th of May 2015.
All the previous years the camp site was at 100% accessible Camp Kanthari of legendary Sebriya Tenberken and Paul Korenberg, the home of Kanthari (www.kanthari.org) International Institute for Social Entrepreneurship. This year with the new Camp schedule which was clashing with the starting of the new batch of the Institute made us to sought for a new location and decided to look for a scientific research facility. TBGRI was also part of our previous camps since we spend a day there to learn and understand botanical specious by touch and smell.
This year utilizing full the facility and the most modern Chemistry lab at the centre, 4th Eyes Free Science Camp 2015 is going to me more excited. Camp was inaugurated by Mrs. Shoba Koshy, Chairperson of State’s Child Rights Commission. On 18th participants overwhelmed with joy, when Chief Minister Shri. Omen Chandy announced that the State this year will lift the unwritten ban (few not sensitized officials of the State’s higher education department think VI students can’t do science) for admission of visually impaired students in science subjects in the higher secondary session. Also all A+ winning students of the recent SSLC exams from VI student community was honored at the Jawahar Balajanavedi function by KPCC president Shri. V.M. Sudheeran and international celebrity Magician Gopinath Muthukad.
Camp will continue till 26th of May at TBGRI with intense sessions in Accessibility, Assistive Technology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics and personal grooming (mobility and life skills). On 26th participants will visit Trivandrum Technopark and will understand the Tech environment with guidance of ACIS (Alianz Cornhill) (http://www.acis.co.in/) staff. Allianz is the main support of Chakshumathi’s Eyes Free movement since 2012 along with IEEE Sight and Young professionals.
Chakshumathi is a charitable nonprofit trust focusing on researching, developing and adopting latest assistive technology for the upbringing and empowerment of the Blind and visually challenged community in India.
Empowerment is not possible without reading and Chakshumathi a member of DAISY Forum of India and the DAISY resource Centre for the State of Kerala. We not only produces books and magazines in regional languages and English using DAISY technology based on its “reading without seeing” publishing technology for the blind and print disabled community, but also train, assist and encourage similar organizations, educational authorities, Universities and individuals to learn how to produce DAISY and EPUB text to talking books. These collective productions now enable the State of Kerala to produce more books in Malayalam and local languages for the benefit of the community. The community hardly has any books in Malayalam for their knowledge assimilation and Chakshumathi through this collective effort now produces books not only in Malayalam, but also all school, college text books for the students in Kerala on a free of cost basis.
Chakshuamathi plays a leading role in governmental advocacy to reforms governmental policies and free legal aids to the blind and print disabled community to fight against discreminations. Please read our Human Rights Statement from this link.
Another two major activities of Chakshumathi is to make the blind and print disabled community literate using various assistive technologies including computer and to impart one to one job orientation training and placement help so that they can earn and live respectfully. Only 2% of the 400,000 Visually Challenged community in Kerala has a decent job. In the rehabilitation front, Chakshumathi partner with Regional Institute of ophthalmology to assist people with vision loss to come back to normal life with the aid of various assistive technologies and mobility training.
Chakshumathi’s charity operations are styled in a very new pattern. We do not go for sponsorship drives to make our bank account fatty for our day to day operational expenses and activities or wait for sponsorship fund for our charity work. We do not collect any government grants too. We earn our day to day expenses through paid services to the sighted community like English language training programmes through our subsidiary CEC (Chakshumathi English Centre) and dedicated professional hours of the Trust’s trustees. Our projects like “Eyes Free Science” educational programme to enable blind and print disabled students to learn accessible science and mathematics to equip them to join gainful degrees and jobs in Science, technology and engineering is supported by the Young Professionals of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) and our annual camp is sponsored by Allianz. We conduct a campaign among corporate companies to donate DAISY reading devices to blind students directly to make Kerala 100% DAISY enable. Staff, management and friends of Vidhya Acadmey of Science and Technology, CSR wing of ENVESTNET are our major supporters to fulfill our 100% DAISY State dream. They bought the devices and donated to the needy children from our database.
Meaning of the Sanskrit word “Chakshumathi” The Sanskrit word “Chakshumathi”, where Chakshu means Eyes and Mathi means Wisdom, embodies the spirit of empowering through knowledge from the 4000 year old Chakshumathi Vidya, the Vedic period techniques from Upanishads to teach Blind people as well people with vision on extraordinary learning through other sensory organs than eyes. Chakshumathi Vidya helps one to activate their “Insight”.