Sandesh, A Changemaker Moving Towards A Vision 

It’s funny how in Indian movies, the portrayal of a ‘good person’ is when they hold the hand of someone who is unable to see and cross a busy road. Is that it? What if the person didn’t want to cross the road? What if they could do it themselves? What if able-bodied persons could rely on the abilities of disabled persons instead of wanting to help at any given chance? Do we do it just to feel better about ourselves or does it really matter? 

Sandesh Bhingarde, based in Mumbai, may have the answers since he works with visually challenged persons in different ways. He organizes treks and cricket matches with them,  provides voluntary support to write exams, and has set up an audio library as well as a braille library that consists of not just books but also board games. In addition to this, he conducts English-speaking classes, Geography, and Braille literacy sessions with visually challenged persons. His team of 20 people is a mix of visually challenged and sighted people supporting each other to learn. They call themselves ‘Team Vision’. 

Back in 2012, it was during his college days in Mumbai when Sandesh met a stranger turned friend who was visually challenged. While understanding and being more curious about how she navigates the world, he got encouraged to make it a better place for others as well. To hone his leadership skills, learn project management, and expand his worldview, Sandesh joined  India Fellow. The fellowship is an 18-month long full-time commitment, open for candidates between 20-30 years of age from all academic and professional backgrounds to utilize their time, knowledge and skills for making a social impact. The program offers a stipend, regular in-person training, workshops, online certificate courses and intense coaching support to nurture these leaders of tomorrow. Today, that experience plays a huge role in how Sandesh runs Team  Vision and conducts himself to bring change around him. It has also enabled for him a network to fall back on, and continuous mentorship opportunities to stay motivated. 

The audio library at Team Vision has been particularly helpful for the users to access the books they wish to read. The intention is to create a repository and to open up the windows of knowledge for visually challenged persons from all walks of life. Sighted volunteers choose a book to read. It is delivered to them and once they record, it is edited and uploaded to the database.  This includes study material, novels, biographies, poetry collections, reports, and more. 

Tanmay Mirgal, one of the participants at Team Vision, says, “My experience was incredibly positive. I was struck by the organization’s remarkable sense of inclusivity. In fact, it compelled me to remain actively involved with them. They strive to integrate individuals with visual  impairments into what’s known as the mainstream.” 

One challenge across all programs, however, is to have a constant Plow of skilled volunteers and to manage them effectively. But thanks to the growing trend of young people stepping ahead to contribute their time to do good, this is not such a terrible problem to have. With their intent and willingness to bring change, more and more youth are now taking up such programs, either right after college or after a few years of professional experience. The bigger challenge for Team  Vision is to educate sighted people about blindness, and how it need not be a barrier in one’s life. In the next couple of months, Sandesh and his team are travelling across Maharashtra visiting other organizations and groups doing similar work.  

The India Fellow program has been a catalyst in shaping Sandesh’s journey, providing him with the skills, network, and inspiration to drive meaningful change. It continues to empower young leaders across India, equipping them to tackle the country’s most pressing social issues with innovative solutions and a compassionate approach.So far, with 250 alumni who are working across spaces like bureaucracy, policy think tanks,  academia, foundations, and businesses – India Fellow presents a remarkable opportunity for a young person to build a social capital for life and create the foundation for a high-impact career. The application for the 17th Cohort of the India Fellow Program is open now. If you or someone  you know are interested in the opportunity, click – APPLY NOW

The post Sandesh, A Changemaker Moving Towards A Vision  appeared first on Youth Incorporated Magazine.

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