Our scholarship program provides financial aid to disabled students and student from economically disadvantaged families for pursuing education. We have students ranging from kindergarden to college.
Our students hail from remote villages in WestBengal such as Sunderban Forest, West Medinipur, Bankura, and Diamond Harbor, as well as from the high Himalayan villages of Ladakh.
Support is also provided towards monthly tuition, text books, examination fees, and hostel accommodation.
We always have new students waiting to be sponsored. Please directly contact us to request to sponsor a child.
Amrita-Seattle helps run a residential home for visually handicapped students in Seoraphuli, West Bengal with its partner “Society for the Welfare of the Blind”. The residential house is home to 15 blind students who are from resource poor families but are keen to complete higher education. These students are talented, creative and with tremendous potential. To compete in the past-faced Indian society and economy, their only setback is their lack of eyesight. Amrita-Seattle provides financial aid to visually-impaired students ranging from high school to college level. Our goal is to make them independent to be able to compete with mainstream Indian economy.
Amrita-Seattle has launched the Computer Training Center at the Seoraphuli Blind Students Home to provide computer literacy. Computers are installed with special software “JAWS (Job Access With Speech)” or NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access) that can read the computer’s screen for a visually challenged person and use the computer independently. The computer training program is led by Pradip Sikdar, a full blind person, ex-student of the home, now a teacher and additionally a computer wizard who has assembled, believe it or not, more than 20 computers by himself!
Here is a message from Pradip:
“we, the visually impaired people have to depend on the assistive technologies to compete and show our existence in this tech world. We use some assistive technologies such as ‘Screen Reader’, ‘Braille Display’, etc. to use the computer and mobile devices. Being a visually challenged person, I dare to spread the knowledge I’ve gathered with the others so that, we all can happily live our lives in this digital world with togetherness. The most exciting news is, our dream is going to become true very soon. Amrita-Seattle and the Society for the Welfare of the Blind have come together to found a computer training center for the visually impaired. I am feeling blessed to be a part of it—-”
Amrita-Seattle organized an unique “Photography Workshop” event for our visually challenged students. It was a 7 day workshop that included 5 students,2 facilitators, and 2 teachers, Mr. C S Rathore and Mr. G Sharma from Rajasthan School of Art, Jaipur.
The common questions that tickle our mind are…”Can they do it? Will they be able to take photographs just like a person who can see? If yes, then what changes will it bring to their lives?” The teachers, Mr. Rathore and Mr. Sharma said that — -“This is a methodology or visually challenged young adults, who, though unable to see with ‘retinal’ eyes, have a mind-vision, at par and often richer than us, who can see.”
The most important aspect of this whole endeavor revolved around the fact that we could see the scenery they were photographing, while they could not. We watched them take the photograph and could see the resultant final image whereas the blind photographers were unable to do so– -then what was it that would inspire them to raise a camera? The visually impaired had heightened olfactory and aural perceptions which helps define a scenario around them. And the camera helps them, to capture those scenes, and helps us, to comprehend how they can ‘see’ in their mind-eye.
To quote from the teachers and the students….“If at all there exists such a vast difference in ‘our’ and ‘their’ visual worlds, then I believe camera will be the bridge on which we shall meet.”
To quote Amrita-Seattle….”We continue our journey: One world one family!”
Amrita-Seattle runs daily pre-school and after-school tutorials in three remote island villages of Sunderbaans Forest in West Bengal. They are run in collaboration with our sister organization Amrita-Swadesh. These tutorials are attended by 3rd- 5th graders and among them, many tribal students are orphans of tiger attack victims. Due to global warming and threats of sea-level rise, a growing number of farmers have now been driven out of their islands and fields and into the core mangrove areas to make a living by collecting honey, fishing, or crabbing, thus putting them at great risk for tiger attack.
Our tutorials in Tipligheri, Jamespur and Luxbagan villages provide coaching, classroom material and morning snacks 6 days a week and moreover offer safe learning environment to mitigate risk of child labor and human trafficking. In near future, we are looking forward building a school library, putting up solar panels, and distributing solar cells to every household of these villages. Battling energy deficiency is critical in reducing man-animal conflict.
We construct & set-up libraries in remote areas where literacy and reading levels are at the lowest due to lack of books. Our goal is to inspire children to read and love books, and break the cycle of illiteracy. Amrita-Seattle’s volunteers and field co-ordinators work in tandem with the local schools and workers in the actual construction, interior decoration, mural painting, furnishing, and shelving of the library.
Once the library is constructed, and fully shelved, our Reading Program takes action. Our volunteers train the teachers to implement and run different daily reading activities, such as, story-telling,puppetry, drawing, and role plays, to teach the students daily values, such as, self-confidence, respect, harmony, and kindness towards each other. In addition, we have implemented Reading Clubs, where senior students coach one-to-one the junior students to develop reading skills and become voracious readers.
Amrita-Seattle is starting a free residential eco-hostel and tutorial center in Leh-Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir for disadvantaged young girls ages (6 – 16 yrs) coming from remote nomadic regions of the Himalayas. Our target students hail from the two most remote regions of Ladakh: Zanskar Valley and Changthang (aka Tibetan High Plateau). Family background of these students ranges from nomadic to simple subsistence farming with little to no educational history in the family.
Our goal is to break the cycle of illiteracy, poverty, and potential child labor through education.
This will be achieved by: