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, working at the grass root level. It has 25 affiliates across the country. Since 1980, the confederation has completed decades of its glorious 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 66 staff members, from a meagre fund of just a few hundred rupees to the present budget of over 3 crores and 78 lakh 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.
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, a Geography room and a well-established Braille Book Library so rare elsewhere in the country, a wealth of cultural and co-curricular activities, "Centre of Excellence" (Computer training for children) from Class 2, Indoor and outdoor games.
Access to knowledge and information: A high-speed state-of-the-art Braille Press established with the capacity to produce Braille at the astounding rate of 1200 characters per second through 2 computerized high power Embossers and 4 high speed braille embossers producing braille books at the speed of 600 characters per second, provision of textbooks to all blind children in a number of States at highly subsidized costs, publication of magazines in Braille, production in Braille of two reputed children's print journals (one fortnightly and one monthly), one women monthly magazine and two bi-monthly magazines in Hindi and English languages. 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, Kannada, Gujarati, Marathi and Oriya.
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 600 ex-trainees of Stenography and Computer Training 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.
Women Empowerment: A hostel for College-going blind girls providing free facilities and reading materials, merit scholarships to blind girls studying at graduate and 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.