All India Confederation of the Blind (AICB) is a body of blind persons working for and with the blind community. It is made up of various state level associations/organizations, starting from the grass root level. It has 24 affiliates across the country. The Confederation has now completed 35 years of its journey. As we look back, we derive some satisfaction from the fact that we have traversed quite a long distance--from a small rented office to our own premises housing a variety of services, from just one part-time employee to the present number of over 100 staff members, from a meager fund of just a few hundred rupees to the present budget of over 25 million rupees and from hardly any activity to over 20 projects and services now.
The Confederation’s work has been receiving appreciation and commendation from various quarters. It has been adjudged the Best NGO in the disability sector for 2006 by the Government of India and presented the corresponding National Award by the President of India on December 3, 2006. The Confederation’s Braille printing press was adjudged the best in the country and was awarded a Citation and Cash Award of Rs. One lakh in the year 2009 and 2012.
Vision Statement : While the exact number of visually impaired persons in India is not clearly available, there is no doubt that we have a sizeable section of sight-impaired children and adults--male and female--across the country. These vision impaired persons possess immense potential and skills. No talk of total national development can be worth its while without taking on board all of these teeming millions. Our blind brothers and sisters are invaluable assets and have immense capacity to contribute their mite towards the overall socio-economic flowering of the country’s multi-dimensional growth and development. All that we need is to put our shoulders to the wheel, pool our resources together and make a determined and continuing dent on the prejudices and misconceptions in society which impede the development of the blind. This is the underlying philosophy and conviction of our Confederation.
The challenging task of bringing the blind community of the country out of the present generally miserable state of ostracization, deprivation and neglect to genuine inclusion, acceptance and development rests with one and all. Towards this highly humane and stimulating endeavor, AICB calls upon all like-minded individuals and organizations within and outside the country, to lend a helping hand and come together with us. We cannot stop until we are able to reach out “unto the last” individual with visual impairment.
Priorities: AICB has a clear mandate. It seeks to reach out into areas hitherto untraversed or neglected. Thus, visually impaired children, women and the elderly are our primary target groups. Opening up of new vistas of opportunities for the neglected segments of our blind population residing in rural areas is our major concern. On the other hand, facilitating access to information and harnessing appropriate technologies for improving the quality of life of our blind friends is a matter of faith with us. Seeking out new and challenging work-opportunities commensurate with the interests and capabilities of our blind youngsters is yet another challenging task before us. We have to make our programs and services consistent with the daunting demands and realities of the twenty-first century. That is the volume and magnitude of work for which we strive to design and develop our future strategies and approaches.
AICB at Work:
School Education: A highly progressive special school for blind children in a typically rural environment, a Resource Center with a Science Lab, a Touch-and-tell museum and a Geography room so rare elsewhere in the country, a wealth of cultural and co-curricular activities. "AOF-AICB Centre of Excellence" ( Computer training for children)
Access to knowledge and information: A high-speed state-of-the-art Braille Press established with support from NABP, with the capacity to produce Braille at the astounding rate of 1200 characters per second through 3 computerized high power Embossers, provision of textbooks to all blind children in a number of States either free or at highly subsidized costs, a recording studio-cum-cassette library providing books to college students on easy to operate cassettes, publication of 4 magazines in Braille and on cassettes, production in Braille of three reputed children’s print journals, a wide range of reports on various research projects completed by the Confederation, production into Braille of a wide array of general knowledge books, stories, drama and novels in English and Hindi, bringing out into Braille textbooks in Hindi, English, Sanskrit, Punjabi, Malayalam and Kannada.
Training and Employment: Braille Stenography and Computer Training courses, Crisis Management Unit for helping recently blinded persons to overcome the retarding effects of their visual disability, O.& M., ADL and Home Management training, placement of over 325 ex-trainees of Stenography courses in various government departments, banks and public sector undertakings, placement in industrial and other forms of employment.
Rehabilitation: CBR projects in a number of States, provision of financial assistance to blind persons to enable them to start income-generating activities in rural areas, providing pensions to elderly blind persons, a Day-Care Center for the geriatric group of blind persons.
Prevention of Blindness and Eye-Care: Eye screening for thousands of school children and adults, providing free eye glasses to the poor and the needy, IOL surgeries.
Women Empowerment: A hostel for College-going blind girls providing free facilities and reading materials, merit scholarships to blind girls studying at post-graduate level, intensive leadership training and personality building programmes.
Other services: Braille Equipment Banks in many States, judicial activism through an Advocacy Cell to facilitate redressal of grievances of individuals and securing the rights of the blind by filing petitions in various Courts, a wide range of professional conferences and consultations from time to time.