August Newsletter

Highlights of VOSAP Activities and Impact (Jul – Aug 2021)

1. COVID-19 Relief efforts: Volunteers continued to help, every week, in 6 states of India
2. VOSAP Research Internship: Concluded with 5 presentations, attended by leaders in disability sector
3. Youth Advocacy: Launch of VOSAP Ignite program to engage high school students in the US
4. Corporate Advocacy: Research data presentation to Duncan Channon employee townhall meeting
4. Enablement: 700 visually impaired helped with surgical interventions. Online appl for Assistive devices

 

Dear friends,

Trust you all are safe and healthy! Happy to present VOSAP newsletter for Jul and Aug 2021.

 

 

1. COVID-19 Relief Efforts: Pandemic has brought some of the most challenging times for a lot of people. We are glad to be in a position to continue helping the people in need. With generous donations and support from our partner NGOs, hundreds of people were provided ration kits, 3 layered mask, and sanitizers every weekend in different cities of India: Ahmedabad (Gujarat), Dahod (Gujarat), Varanasi (U.P.), Belgaum (Karnataka), Nagda (Madhya Pradesh), Haridwar (Uttarakhand) and Hyderabad (Telangana) as part of COVID-19 relief efforts.

 

We are grateful to our volunteers with tremendous compassion for going out every week, visiting door to door, taking enormous risk, and reaching out to help underprivileged Specially Abled People. Sharing 4 examples here.

  • Belgavi, Karanataka: There were incidents during relief work where we were in a dilemma to let our volunteers continue going out in the risky surroundings, when Girish ji and some of the other volunteers tested positive during this work and we had to keep our work on hold for a while. But this could not shake the determination of our volunteers and they resumed distribution after 3 weeks in Belgaum by being extra careful.
  • Hyderabad, Telangana: Despite heavy rain and the risk of being in close proximity to a large number of people in a small room, our volunteers managed their way positively to continue with the distribution program.
  • Nagda, Madhya Pradesh: Our team came up with a unique strategy to boost the vaccination program. They distributed VOSAP ration kits to the people who came for vaccination at the centres to help them at the same time appreciate them for taking the vaccine.
  • Ahmedabad, Gujarat: Our volunteers reached out door to door to people in need in Ahmedabad. During  the home visits VOSAP volunteers engaged, inspired them.

These efforts were commendable. These frontline warriors have made a huge difference in thousands of lives in these tough times. This work will continue till there is a need on the ground.

 

2. Youth Engagement:

a. VRI Presentations 2021 witnessed presence of distinguished officials:

28 talented and compassionate interns worked during the summer on 5 research projects related to disability and they presented their research outcomes as part of final VOSAP Research Internship presentations during the week of August 2.

 

It is an immense pleasure that the VRI 2021 final presentation sessions witnessed the participation of many leaders, dignitaries of the community working towards inclusivity, accessibility, and advocacy of Persons with Disabilities. We are grateful to Pap Talla from UN ECOSOC, Carlos Benevavides, President of the Disability Commission, Los Angeles county, Jordan Sun, Chief Innovation Officer of San Jose city, Daniel P Cochrane, Clinical instructor, disability and human development and RJ Cooper, CEO of RJ cooper and associates inc  for their time and effort to appreciate these future leaders by their valuable presence, insights and inputs.

 

1) Trends in Assistive Technologies –  Led by Shreya Ramesh, studied the trends and understood the entire supply chain starting with innovation in academia to start up, to commercialization and NGOs/Beneficiaries. The team reached out to more than 200 vendors and innovators in the US.

 

2) Federal and State Programs for Persons with Disabilities in the USA – Led by Fatima Jaber, They looked at the healthcare, education and employment sector. Analyzing the distribution of federal and state budgets allocated towards promoting inclusion of PWD.

 

3) Non-Compliance of Employment-related ADA – Led by Sophie Manoukukian, they studied the effects of ADA  laws and ADA noncompliance in regards to the high unemployment rates of persons with disabilities. They analysed the federal court database (PACER), and also interviewed various stakeholders to understand ADA noncompliance.

 

4) Representation of PwD in Advertisements – Led by Lexie Van Os, They reached out to brands, companies, marketing executives, and ad agencies and social media influencers to understand the possible reasons of lack of representation of PwD and they Analyzed over 300 advertisements since 1980s, the current advertising landscape (social media, print and digital media) for persons with disabilities (PWD) and evaluating business benefits through such inclusion.

 

5) Representation of Disability/PwD in CSR projects – Led by Sharon Wang, They studied corporate social responsibility programs (CSR) by reaching out to more than 200 fortune 500 companies in order to understand the CSR efforts in the disability sector. Analyzing how various companies prioritize PWD inclusivity through their CSR programs.

 

VOSAP believes in Data-driven Advocacy, and these 5 projects helped us enormously to get valuable inputs and to think of a way forward. This 10 weeks  of rigorous study of the topics was an exciting and insightful journey with rising youth of various universities contributing with data research, analysis, and recommendations.

–> Videos of these 5 Project Presentations are available to watch on our website (link).

 

b. VRI 2021 cohort call #2: On July 23rd, we had an opportunity to host various experts from disability sector – Dr.S.K.Ramesh, former dean of california state university, Tanner Gers, Head of partnership at Usablenet, Michelle Witman, founder of asset based consulting, Reyma McCoy McDeid, executive director of the national council on independent living and White House appointee by president Biden. The panel discussion as part of VOSAP Research internship Cohort 2 was informative and insightful where our participants had enriched discussion with the panelists.

 

c. Launch of VOSAP Ignite program for high school students in the US: VOSAP is excited to launch 10 months long VOSAP Ignite program for high school students of Grade 9 to 12 to encourage students to learn about disability, build a network, volunteer, and promote empathy and sensitivity in students towards Persons with disabilities and to nurture virtue of ‘Individual Social Responsibility (ISR)’.

 

3. Enablement, Assistive Technology initiatives:

a. 700 people were helped with surgical interventions. 
The VOSAP Enablement program is now expanded to include surgical interventions. VOSAP partner Blind People’s Association enabled 700 people majorly in the rural areas of Gujarat as well as in other states with visual impairment to get a free surgical intervention to get the vision. (Eye surgeries are limited to Gujarat as of now). VOSAP is planning to enable 3,000 more people in the next 12 months with Assistive Devices and surgical interventions.
Please Donate Generously, change life of SAP!

 

b. VOSAP discussing MoU with INALI foundation to enable SAP with Robotic Arms. VOSAP founder spoke with Prashant Gade, Director of Inali Foundation. VOSAP will help identified beneficiaries who lost or do not have upper limb with Robotic Arm, developed, innovated by Prashant Gade, young engineer, supported by Sudha Murthy (Infosys foundation). To start, MoU and processes will be put in place to examine patients, provide one of 3 designs of Robotic Arm.

 

c. VOSAP founder and CEO of Translatelive discussed ways to help Hearing Impaired.
Translatelive CEO Peter presented his innovative solutions for helping hearing impaired, eliminating need for sign language interpretor at hospitals, hotels, govt offices. These solutions are immensly useful to communicate with hearing impaired in 60+ languages.

 

d. Aspire Impact: Aspire Impact’s initiative ‘Impact Future Project’ on Accessibility, Disabilities & Inclusion (DNI) hosted a meeting on 20th August 2021. VOSAP founder Mr. Pranav Desai participated in the round table discussions attended by innovators who presented their solutions along with investors and leaders in disability sector. They discussed and shared ideas on investment and innovations in Assistive Technology, and how this innovation can be brought to the market.

 

d. Aspire Impact: Aspire Impact’s initiative ‘Impact Future Project’ on Accessibility, Disabilities & Inclusion (DNI) hosted a meeting on 20th August 2021. VOSAP founder Mr. Pranav Desai participated in the round table discussions attended by innovators who presented their solutions along with investors and leaders in disability sector. They discussed and shared ideas on investment and innovations in Assistive Technology, and how this innovation can be brought to the market.

 

4. Corporate Advocacy: VOSAP Research findings were requested to be presented to all employees of Duncan Channon, a leading, progressive advertising agency from San Francisco.

We are very encouraged to know the leadership found this research work useful and invited the VOSAP team to present for 1 hour on ‘Representation of PwDs in Advertising’ It was a great opportunity for VRI2021 interns Katie and Me’Chele to present their excellent work, findings to the CEO, entire leadership, and all employees of Duncan Channon during this 1 hour session. VOSAP made a strong business case for ad media agencies to increase the representation of Persons with Disability in their creative work and to look for more ad to start representing PwD for higher returns, brand recall for their client.

–> Everyone can do something to create a better world for Specially Abled People, in the process making the world inclusive for ALL the people.

Please join us as volunteer, donor, supporter, thought leader – in ways you believe you can make your impact with VOSAP as a platform!

–> If you are inspired to help Specially Abled People, please join as volunteer, learn, follow us on Instagram (vosap.official), facebook (voiceofsap) and Linkedin (voiceofsap). 

Donate generously to VOSAP and change life of SAP!
Visit our website (www.voiceofsap.org) or contact our volunteers for more details.

Please take care, stay safe and keep embracing Inclusion of SAP, more so now than ever before!

Please Download VOSAP mobile app (iOS, Android) and start volunteering!

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