National Federation of the Blind Maharashtra (NFBM)

Partner From
02/01/2020 - On Going

https://www.nfbm.org/


Supported by: Wipro Cares

About NFBM

The National Federation of the Blind Maharashtra, (NFBM) is a state-level organization that works for education, training and employment of the visually challenged students. NFBM is a unique service-oriented organization established in the year 1977 with the vision of improving the quality of life of the visually impaired persons (VIPs). In order to achieve this goal, the NFBM is running several projects all over Maharashtra including

Projects

The NFBM Jagriti School for Blind Girls, Asia’s best in-class special education institution for the benefit of visually impaired girl children. The other projects run by NFBM include Vocational Rehabilitation and Training Center, Nashik, Industrial Vocational, Rehabilitation and Training Center for Girls, Aurangabad, Braille transcription unit, Ville Parle Mumbai, and NFBM Braille Publishing Center, Pune.

The Approach

As is the fact, opportunities for the visually challenged in the field of education, rehabilitation, and financial independence are limited due to the inadequate infrastructure and lack of suitable resources.

At NFBM, we try to make our students self-sufficient in education, sports, and career opportunities. We emphasize on training them in academics as well as life skills so that they can lead their life with dignity and self-respect as opposed to being dependent on others.

NFBM Jagriti School for Blind Girls, Pune, is a state-of-the-art school, specially designed for visually challenged students, where holistic development of the students is the goal. The school is technologically advanced and it encourages use of computers, tabs, Alexa devices etc. The school has also taken initiative in encountering crucial subjects like Orientation and Mobility, Conversational English, Behavioral and Performance Counseling and Technology Training.  NFBM Jagriti is the first and only special school in India to have introduced Table Tennis to its students. Sports, self-defense training, and extra-curricular activities are given equal importance.

Training Centers in Nashik and Aurangabad provide employment-specific training to VI girls who, for any reason, might not be able to pursue education.

In the 41 years of its existence, NFBM has endeavored to stride ahead on the path of leading its beneficiaries towards financial independence, with its students being employed in various sectors like banking, insurance, software, sports, public sector enterprises, schools and colleges.

This year, we have started Skill Development Center in the premises of the NFBM career-orientated education campus for the blind at Alandi, Pune. This center has been designed to provide additional skills to the junior and senior college aspirants in the areas of information technology training, training in foreign languages, physiotherapy and audio recording skills. Currently due to the unprecedented situation with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, this center is offering online training courses to 15 of its beneficiaries in German language and in conversational English. Once the situation normalizes and our premises reopen for our students, we will start the other programs as well.

New approaches adopted in response to COVID

Due to COVID-19 and Lockdown, the school had to be closed and all the ongoing activities came to a standstill. Online education seemed difficult owing to many reasons, primarily because our students are visually challenged. Unavailability of smartphones, network and electricity issues were a few to name.

We have tried to overcome all these issues. Teachers were trained in using online training platforms. Students were provided with smartphones and tablets. Training was imparted to students and their parents for them to use these technologies. Education continued with the help of virtual classrooms, YouTube videos, audio and video recordings etc. Homework was sent through WhatsApp audio and videos. Exams were also conducted via phones and Google Forms. Many festivals and days are also celebrated in online programs.

The students are at their respective homes and are used to studying online.

Our two success stories are – Online German Classes and Conversational English classes, which we started in January 2021. The students are making very remarkable progress.

Plan for Next 1 to 3 Years:

  • We plan to continue online classes and conduct online exams. We also plan to organize Summer Camp, which has been our tradition, online.
  • We will continue online classes and activities until the lockdown is lifted.
  • We plan to continue technology training, Braille reading and writing training, training in conversational English, Orientation and Mobility, and Sports to ensure holistic development of students.
  • Capacity building training for our teachers and facilitators.
  • Field training and science workshops to get in-depth understanding of subjects.
  • Make college education more accessible and provide advanced courses in order to boost confidence and create career opportunities for our students.
  • Start classes for MPSC and UPSC exams.
  • Tie up with potential employers.
  • We also propose to set up an employment center for the students with an average academic aptitude at Badlapur in Mumbai.
  • In the next 3 years, this organization proposes to cater to the needs of elderly visually impaired women by setting up a home for the senior citizens at Ahmednagar.