Devnar was founded in 1992 by Padma Shri Dr. Saibaba Goud, a recipient of several awards apart from being the first Ph.D in Community Ophthalmology. Now, the foundation has 480 students, the biggest foundation (in terms of enrollment) in the world. To an individual deprived of their sight, the provision of a school with no cost for education, boarding & lodging is absolutely unimaginable. In addition, the rigor of education is up to par with international standards providing them opportunity to compete with the rest of the world.
We (Rama Ryali, Rao Manekar & Sreeni Baddam) visited Devnar Foundation for the Blind, in a quest for two things:
1. to find out how our (all Vibha volunteers) efforts are being used by the foundation
2. to find out what blind school looks like.
Though Vibha funds Devnar Foundation in printing the Braille books used for children’s education, we found out that the books are being distributed to all blind schools in the whole state of Andhra Pradesh at no cost, indicating that Vibha indeed chose a great foundation to support.
First we were shown the printing press where books for all classes are printed. As seen in the photograph, all the printing machines & staff are working on printing books while Rao is seen in the front. These books were later given to other blind school teachers.
This is the computer lab. A lady named Shashi who is also blind explained to us how she has learnt how to use computers and teachers others. She was very excited about our visit and was very curious as to how the US system works.
The class rooms are just as normal as any other ones. Every level class (or grade) has a room.
Lunch was served to all kids after they recited their prayers.
We were mesmerized with how kids roamed about together in the open area before/after during their lunch as witnessed in the photographs. Their unique togetherness in eating/walking/talking was remarkable.
The library is full of books, all of them in Braille. The librarian showed us how each book is printed and made available for all standards.
During our visit to the Science Labs, it was amazing to see how each kid would learn our body parts, nervous system, parts & functions of a mosquito, solar system, periodic table, all in Braille. The effort was actually made by one of the 82 year old professor (we missed taking a picture with him).
Play Room/Clean Up:
We also visited the play room of the kids. We were impressed when they cleaned up everything after they were finished with their play.
More information on the project can be found at http://www.devnarfoundationfortheblind.org/
Our visit has confirmed that the efforts of all the volunteers is going to the right cause and giving hope for the needy ones. Vibha has no doubt made a brilliant choice of funding this institute.
Rama Ryali, Rao Manekar & Sreeni Baddam