Service Project ‘Annie Smart Class’ at Smt. Patishibai Lunkad Blind School, Bhosari
Rotary Club of Pune Metro (RCPM) believes in ‘Service above Self’. We strongly believe and practice the maxim ‘Don’t curse darkness, light a lamp’. In our Silver Jubilee Year, we have planned this project under ’Basic Education and Literacy’ focus area, to empower visually challenged students by opening wide the doors of Braille Literacy, using digital innovation called ‘Annie Smart Class’
What is ‘Annie Smart Class’?
‘Annie’ is the world’s first Braille self-learning device that helps the visually impaired to read, write and type in Braille on their own, through interactive, audio- guided, gamified, content. Although India has achieved average literacy rate of about 74%, Braille literacy rate in India is less than 1% which underlines the need and significance of the Annie self learning device. The innovative device ‘Annie’ named after Helen Keller’s teacher ‘Ann Sullivan’, is developed by a Bengaluru based start-up, ‘Thinkerbell Labs’ (www.thinkerbelllabs.com), that has received number of accolades for this flagship innovation. ‘Annie Smart Class’ amplifies collaborative self-learning by students and also increases the effectiveness of teacher. Being a connected set up, the students are able to access latest quality content, while teachers, parents or donors can track performance and usages metrics of the children to monitor progress.
Last year Rotary Club of Pune Metro supported setting up of first ‘Annie Smart Class’ at Jagriti School for Blind Girls, Pune, run by National Federation of the Blind, Maharashtra. RC Pune Metro received ‘Innovative Community Service Project’ award in RD3131 for this innovative and efficacious project. This year we are setting up ‘Annie Smart Class’ at Smt. Patishibai Lunkad Blind School, Bhosari, Pune. The school is residential campus for students from 1st to 10th standards. They have the necessary infrastructure and enthusiastic staff with empathy towards students and their needs.
Inauguration of ‘Annie Smart Class’
Innovative project ‘Annie Smart Class’ is a step towards inclusive education. Annie is digital braille teaching device which helps visually challenged students to learn braille the fun way. Rotary club of Pune Metro is happy to be instrumental for setting up braille smart class of 10 Annie devices at Patashibai Lunkad school for blind, bhosari. Rotary club of shivajinagar was partner club for the project.
Inauguration of ‘Annie Smart Class’ at Patashibai Ratanchand Manav Kalyan Trust school for the blind was held on 26th January. The programme began with flag hoisting at the school. The gathering then proceeded to the actual inauguration of the Annie Smart Class with ribbon cutting by our President Makarand and DGE Pankaj Shah and the school trust Chairman Rtn. Shantilal Lunkad. This was followed by practical demonstration of the device.
A short function was arranged in a hall where President Makarand, DGE Pankaj Shah, Rtn. Shantilal Lunkad addressed the audience. Tinkerbell director Saif explained the technical details while some students also spoke impromptu, which was very appreciated.
On this occasion, a few copies of a colour printed version of a special bulletin was published and distributed. Donors were felicitated and so were those on the dias by our club by presenting them with “Adim” brand of rice grown by Phalode farmers.
Rtn. Shobhana, being the convenor, and Dileep Praranjpye were the backbone of this entire project and function. Kudos to them for meticulous planning, a very smooth execution and help even in tertiary areas where others were responsible.
The function was attended by President, First Lady and Secretary of our partner club RC Shivajinagar, Rtn. Tina ( Dist Chair), and apart from our own president and convenor, other members from our club including PP Shardul Gandhi, Vandana and Pramod Joglekar, Vivek and Madhavi Kulkarni, PP Padma Shahane, Varsha Dawale, Brig Sunil and Ann Anagha Natu, IPP Mukund and Mugdha Chiplunkar, PP Deepak Bodhani, PP Narendra Dravid and Annet Sandeep Dravid, Pournima and Harsha Halbe, PE Sneha and Uday Subedar, Rtn.Vasanti Bedekar, Nayana and Rahul Joshi, PP Satish Shingade and PP Madhavi and Ravi Mehendaley. Many other guests and well as the entire school staff also were present and the school Principal gave a vote of thanks and expressed gratitude and hoped that this association with Rotary continues.
by Project convenor Rtn. Shobhana Paranjpye