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Local Area Dancers Perform Dance Drama To Raise Funds For Vision-Aid

Anu Chitrapu

Date: Sunday July 15 3:00 pm
Location: Littleton High School Auditorium, 55 King St, Littleton,MA

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About the show

If you attended any of our annual shows in the last 5 years, you know what to expect at our dance drama this year. A spectacular treat for your eyes, where colors explode on stage as dancers weave in and out, telling yet another story through the age-old art form of Bharatanatyam... yes, you will definitely see that, but in addition you will also see that the costumes and props this year are even brighter and better than ever before.  

50 performers from the greater Boston area, including 27 children, have contributed their time, energy and hours of hard work to put together the show “Slaying of the demons” under the guidance of Madurai Muralidharan, a well known dance choreographer from Chennai.

Sri Madurai R. Muralidharan was always fascinated by Lord Muruga.   "Kandha Puraanam" was one of his first dance production. He wanted to create a grander dance production depicting  the birth or Lord Muruga and slaying of the asura king "Soora Padman" and thus came the idea of "Soora Samhaaram". 

To write the lyrics and compose the music,  Sri Muralidharan did extensive research and took references from Kalidasa's "Kumara Sambhava", Arunagirinathar's 'Thiruppukazh', 'vel viruththam', 'mayil viruththam, Kacchiayappa Swamigal's 'Kandha Puraanam', Paamban Swamigal'Shanmuga Kavacham' and Kirupananda vaariyaar's various works.Musicians and artists including Rajesh Vaidya, DA Srinivas, Embar Kannan, Ram Shankar Babu, Chandrajith, Naveen, Kuldeep Pai, mridangists Dhanajayan and N.Kesavan have lend their talents. 

Our partnership with local dance  teachers

Every year, local dance teachers Jeyanthi Ghataraju and Ranjani Saigal, have collaborated with Vision-Aid to create a dance drama to raise funds for Vision-Aid.  When I asked them if they would work with us again this year, they told me they had already planned the event so yes, they would absolutely do it again!  Both Jeyanthi and Ranjani are not only passionate about dance, they are equally passionate about Vision-Aid’s cause.  Every year, way after the event is done, they stay involved, offering us ideas and more importantly connecting us to their wide networks in the Boston area. It is this partnership that has helped Vision-Aid grow from a small group to a name that most Indians in Boston recognize.

Vision-Aid runs only one fund raiser per year so it is important for the fund raiser to be successful and judging by the last five years we have every expectation that this year will also yield the funds we need to reach our goals.

Vision-Aid’s goal

Our primary goal is to serve as many people with low vision problems as possible.  We do this through our own centers, like the flagship center in Vizag, India and we also do this through partnerships with existing organizations Susrut Eye Foundation. Our partnership model has helped us expand our footprint faster than we could on our own and has proven to be very successful.

What exactly do we do for the visually challenged?

The booming IT sector in India is providing jobs and livelihood to thousands in India, helping them live better lives.  Vision-Aid’s founders wanted to provide the same opportunity to benefit from the IT boom, to the visually challenged poor. In order to provide IT job opportunities to them, the first step was to provide them with tools (like magnifying devices, software that would read out what was on the screen) and technology training (like teaching them how to use MS Office). In developed countries, both tools and training are readily available for people with vision impairment, but in India these tools were prohibitively expensive and inaccessible to the ones who needed them most. That was the gap that Vision-Aid wanted to fill. To date, we have trained hundreds of visually impaired adults and children, provided assistive devices to many, and have funded several early intervention programs benefitting several hundred children.

The funds raised in the US are used to provide the tools and training.
* $25 will enable a blind student to get comprehensive training in Orientation and Mobility.
* $50 will provide a free electronic magnifier (Camera Mouse) developed by Vision Aid that can help low vision persons of any age and especially senior citizen, a means to read and write by projecting magnified text on their TV screens.
* $100 will provide a comprehensive low vision evaluation and a set of free optical assistive devices and an electronic magnifier to an adult or child with low vision.
* $150 will educate a blind or low vision person with a certificate course in Introduction to Computers.
* $500 will provide a 6 months comprehensive and individualized education for a vision impaired student, who has completed high school, and has basic knowledge of English,  helping them to learn Touch Typing, MS Access, MS Office and competence in using  the internet and email. This program leads to a Vision-Aid Diploma in Computer  applications, and opens the door for jobs and higher education. Graduates are also provided need based aid to purchase a personal computer with assistive technology.
* $1000 will provide 12 months of comprehensive and individualized education for a person who has no prior English education. The program targets students from an under-privileged (often rural) background, with only elementary or middle school level education.

Please do attend the show and help us help the visually challenged in India.

Tickets are available at www.visionaid.org. Send an email to anu@visionaid.org with comments or questions.

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