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The 72nd Foundation Day and Padmashree Dr Rajendra T Vyas Memorial Award Presentation ceremony was held on Saturday, 9th November 2019, at “M N B Industrial Home for the Blind, Jogeshwari (West) Mumbai” from 4.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m. Total 100 persons had participated in the function. The programme started with lighting the lamp at the hands of our President, Mrs Anubha Dixit and the Chief Guest Mrs Vaishali Babu, Senior Vice President, BNP Paribas Security Services India, together with Mr Ketan Kothari, Hon. General Secretary, Mr Harshad Jadhav, Joint Secretary and Mr Ashok Kamble, Hon. Treasurer of Blind Persons’ Association. Mr Harshad Jadhav introduced the Chief Guest to the audience and explained her various achievements in her career especially in the field of C S R activities.

Thereafter Mrs Dixit welcomed the audience for the function. Mr Ketan Kothari, explained various activities and services of our Association for overall empowerment of visually challenged people, staying in Mumbai city and its suburbs, including adjoining districts viz. Thane, Palghar and Raigad for the past seventy two years. He said that majority of our beneficiaries are belonging to economically weaker section of the blind community and our aim is to make them self sufficient and lead a dignified life in the society. He also mentioned that we have a Medical Corpus Fund for the benefit of the financially poor blind people and their families. The Fund today stands at Rs. 10 lakhs plus, out of which lions share had been contributed by the blind people themselves from their limited resources.

Mr Bihari N Shah, former President of our Association, paid tribute to Dr Vyas and shared his contribution in the field of empowerment of blind people. He informed that Dr Rajendra T Vyas was one of the founder members of the Association, in 1947. He continued to hold various positions of the Association till the year 1993, and thereafter he was the President Emeritus of the Association till the end of his life in the year 2010. Dr Vyas lived for 80 years out of which he dedicated about 63 years for working in the field of blind welfare activities. He was instrumental for a number of blind welfare activities not only with this Association but also with the National Association for the Blind, India, (NAB, India) which was established during the year 1952, around 5 years after the establishment of this Association. While working for NAB, India, he got an offer from an N G O based in U K known as the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind (presently known as “Sight Savers,”) where he was working as Asia Director. Though he was working with other Association, he continued to serve NAB, India, in his voluntary capacity. Through his initiative the NAB, India, had started the Talking Book Library, Braille Press, Training Centres for the blind and many more activities. He was always willing to mingle with the people from grass root level and help them to find out solutions for their problems. His name will always be written in golden letters in the field of blind welfare activities. Taking into consideration his remarkable contributions for the blind, the Blind Persons’ Association, Mumbai has instituted an award in his memory to be given every year to one of the blind persons who has excelled in his/her abilities or services. This year the award was conferred on Mr Sagar Hiraji Patil, a totally blind person who is a Post Graduate in Marathi Literature and thereafter he himself set up a company in the area of electronics and solar energy. Probably he is the first blind person in India, who acquired four patents in the area of electronics. In recognition of his outstanding achievement as an entrepreneur and innovator , a citation and Cash Award were presented to him at the hands of the Chief Guest, Mrs Vaishali Babu.

On this occasion we felicitated Mr Arvind Nere, a visually challenged person, for his selfless and dedicated services in the field of blind welfare activities. Mrs Santa Narsian, former Hon. General Secretary and President of B P A, introduced Mr Nere to the audience in glowing terms. Mr Nere was felicitated at the hands of the Chief Guest with a letter of appreciation and a memento.

While addressing the audience, Mrs Vaishali Babu, said that she was very much impressed about our activities and services. She also appreciated the abilities and achievements of Mr Sagar Patil in the field of electronics and solar energy in spite of his visual impairment.

Thereafter Mr Mohammed Raza, Member of Executive Council proposed the vote of thanks to the Chief Guest and all other participants for sparing their valuable time and making the programme a grand success.

After the award presentation function, a musical programme was performed by Mr Rajat Vijay Mishra and Team. The Programme was very much entertaining. The audience were delighted by hearing their songs. It was a memorable evening for the audience. The Association kept on record its sincere gratitude to the entire team for accepting our request and entertaining the audience, free of cost. The programme concluded at 7.00 p.m. followed by National Anthem. All the participants were served with tea and delicious snacks.