Community Engagement

User Participation during development

Persons with blindness were central to the design of this product and were involved in each stage from specification, prototyping to validation. Every feature has either been user suggested or ratified. Over 300 users from more than 30 organizations in different cities across the country have contributed to this effort. The field stage validation trial (2013) of the device involved close to 150 users in 6 cities in India of which almost all are now regular SmartCane users. Following is the list of organizations involved:

  • National Institute for the Visually Handicapped (NIVH), Dehradun
  • National Institute for the Visually Handicapped (NIVH), Chennai
  • National Association for the Blind (NAB), Delhi
  • Blind Relief Association, Delhi
  • Centre for Blind Women (CBW) NAB, Delhi
  • Blind People’s Association, Ahmedabad
  • Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC), Mumbai
  • Jagadguru Rambhadracharya Handicapped University (JRHU), Chitrakoot
  • Dhalli Boys School for the Deaf and Blind, Shimla
  • Umang Foundation, Shimla

Partners for Dissemination

In order to reach users in different regions, a network of partner is being established. The partner organizations act as the users’ first point of contact for information regarding the device as well as support in learning. They provide access to the SmartCane device and trained personnel conduct orientation training and initiation to mobility with SmartCane.
Dissemination and training is carried out under “Safe and Independent Mobility using SmartCane” Program. As part of the program, Saksham Trust and other regional partners conduct Trainers’ Training workshops which include raising awareness about white cane mobility and equip trainers with the practical skills to further train users in effectively using the SmartCane.
At present, we have partnered with nearly 15 organizations across 10 cities to reach out to the end user and we are still growing. Following is the list of the partners:

  • Mitra Jyothi Trust, Bangalore
  • Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC), Mumbai
  • National Association for the Blind (India), Mumbai
  • Sparsh Products, Dehradun
  • Rehabilitation Society of the Visually Impaired (RSVI), Lucknow
  • Drishti- Technology Centre for the Visually Handicapped, Saksham, Punjab
  • Arushi, Bhopal
  • National Association for the Blind (NAB), Kolkata
  • Orissa Association for the Blind, Odisha
  • Andhjan Kalyan Trust, Rajkot, Gujarat
  • Blind People’s Association (BPA), Ahmedabad
  • Indian Association for the Blind (IAB), Madurai, Tamil Nadu
  • Chakshumathi, Bangalore
  • National Federation of the Blind (NFB), Bangalore
  • L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad
  • Voice and Vision, Mumbai

Training and Awareness program

In a united effort, the team along with the SmartCane users has organized as well as participated in a number of seminars and conferences. In addition, talks are periodically delivered at various sensitization programs to raise awareness about mobility and the use of SmartCane among persons with visual impairment, cane users, mobility instructors, special educators, rehabilitation officers, parents and all other professionals who are working in this sector. Following is the list of event and activities conducted at various organizations and platforms:

Train the trainers Workshops conducted at:

  • National Association for the Blind, Delhi
  • Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Blind, Mumbai
  • Mitra Jyothi Trust, Bangalore
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre, Ludhiana
  • Hellen Keler Institute for the Deaf and Deaf-Blind, Madurai
  • Saksham School for the blind and multiple disabilities, Delhi

Awareness sessions conducted at:

  • Little Flower School for the blind children, Chennai
  • Model School for the Visually Handicapped (MSVH), NIVH, Dehradun
  • Department of Special Education, Avinashalingam University for Women, Coimbatore
  • Hellen Keler Institute for the Deaf and Deaf-Blind, Mumbai
  • Sense International, Ahmedabad
  • Poona Blind Men’s Association, Pune
  • Chakshumati, Bangalore
  • Kanthari- The Institute for Social Entrepreneurs, Kerala

 

Other talks and Presentation delivered at:

  • Reading without seeing Seminar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi
  • International Conference on ‘Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons’ TRANSED 2012, Delhi
  • TechShare India event on assistive technology, 2012 and 2014, Delhi
  • Access India Convention 2014, Delhi
  • Say Everything Convention, Jodhpur
  • Exhibition of Assistive Technologies, Bharathiar University, Coimbatore
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