India: Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company Limited (Chola), the financial services arm of the Murugappa Group, is committed to empowering the lives of differently-abled individuals. Two of its initiatives, the financial support for lathe machines for students at WORTH Trust’s Technical Training Centre (WTTTC), Trichy, who are physically challenged and have speech and vision impairments, and a vision centre under the Rural Eye Health Project in Aurangabad, Bihar, are intended to highlight the significance of accessibility and inclusivity for the visually impaired community.
Earlier, leprosy was a disease that was feared in India, leaving those who contracted it deformed, disabled, and distraught. As a result, WORTH Trust’s Technical Training Centre (WTTTC) was established in Trichy for students with disabilities, providing training in Light Engineering and preparing them for examinations administered by the Government of India’s National Council for Vocational Trades (NCVT). Being one of the largest producers of assistive technology for the visually challenged, and manufacturer of the world-famous Perkins Brailler, a typewriter for the blind, the available lathe machines at the training centre were considerably outdated, and servicing them proved to be challenging due to the unavailability of spare parts.
Consequently, there was a need to procure new lathe machines to replace the outdated ones to ensure the effective training of the students. This is where Chola’s financial support of lathe machines will benefit 120+ students making the pathway for a more inclusive and diverse workforce. By equipping differently-abled students with vocational life skills, Chola is contributing to the creation of livelihood for them.
Chola reiterates its commitment, towards rural India’s upliftment through The Rural Eye Health Project in Aurangabad, Bihar, to bring down the prevailing blindness in the district to 0.3 per cent and establish a sustainable eye health system in the next five years. The project aims to strategically focus on community awareness of eye health and to create an environment where the stakeholders can contribute, to strengthening the eye health systems. As part of the project, a Vision Centre will be established at the block level, equipped with eye screening facilities, and skilled eye care professionals, including Optometrists and Community Health Workers (CHWs) et al, will provide services at these centres.
In addition, to ensure widespread accessibility, community outreach camps will be organised in remote locations, and offering door-to-door eye screening services to the beneficiaries in select locations as a pilot. The outreach team will conduct awareness campaigns in communities, aiming to enhance knowledge about the importance of eye health services and their availability. Following examinations at the vision centres, individuals diagnosed with refractive errors can receive suitable spectacles or prescriptions for advanced issues. For instance, those identified with cataracts will be referred to a nearby partner hospital for necessary surgical interventions.
Ravindra Kundu, Executive Director of Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company Limited highlighted the significance of the initiatives, saying, “Chola Finance is focussed towards helping India achieve its Sustainable Development Goals. As a part of nation-building, we are committed to uplifting the disabled and physically challenged in rural India with technological and medical resources driving and inspiring positive change. The initiatives mentioned are specifically designed to empower the differently abled students of WORTH Trust’s Technical Training Centre in Trichy and to minimising the prevailing blindness in Aurangabad, Bihar, fostering the community awareness of eye health and creating a resilient society where everyone has an opportunity to shape a brighter future.”