Blind Charities: Popular Organizations

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Blind charities play a crucial role in helping people with visual impairments. These organizations are dedicated to enhancing the lives of the blind and through different services. They usually range from vision rehabilitation and education to advocacy and community support. In this article, we will talk about popular blind charities, exploring their missions, impact, and the essential role they play.

What Are Blind Charities?

Blind charities are organizations dedicated to supporting individuals who are blind or visually impaired. These charities focus on various aspects of the lives of the visually impaired, including education, rehabilitation, employment, social integration, and overall well-being. They often provide services, resources, and advocacy to improve the quality of life for those with visual impairments. Some blind charities may also engage in research and awareness campaigns to promote understanding and inclusivity. 

Charities for the Blind

American Foundation for the Blind

American Foundation for the Blind

Established in 1921,American Foundation for the Blind the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is on a mission to help people with vision issues and their families. They want to remove obstacles in society and make a world where those who are blind, deafblind, or have low vision can do anything. AFB does important things like publishing the Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness and managing the accessible Helen Keller Archive. They also work on expanding opportunities in leadership, education, technology, and careers. AFB does research with experts to solve problems in education, jobs, rehabilitation, aging, healthcare, and technology for people with vision challenges. They also educate policymakers, business leaders, advocates, and the public. AFB is a leader in the blindness community, making a way for a world full of possibilities. You can find out more about what they do by visiting Afb.org.

Royal National Institute of Blind People

Royal National Institute of Blind People

RNIB, the leading sight loss charity in the UK, is actively working to create a world without barriers for people with sight loss. Their central mission is to change public perceptions and behaviors. RNIB wants to alter inaccurate perceptions and public behaviors, creating an environment where equal participation from individuals with sight loss is expected.

The organization works for a fully accessible society, emphasizing that improved accessibility benefits not only blind and partially sighted individuals but everyone. RNIB claims that accessibility should be the default priority in design standards for mainstream environments and solutions.

The overarching goal is to drive a significant shift in public behavior, ensuring that the inclusion of blind and partially sighted individuals becomes automatic for the public and decision-makers across society.

Founded on October 16, 1868, as the British and Foreign Society for Improving the Embossed Literature of the Blind, RNIB has a rich history. The organization’s name and focus evolved over the years. However, they were still dedicated to improving embossed literature, promoting employment, and advancing education for the blind.

RNIB received its Royal Charter in 1949, with Her Majesty Queen Victoria becoming the first Patron in 1875. The organization’s name officially included “Royal” in 1953, and Queen Elizabeth II continued the tradition of royal patronage, advocating for the rights of blind and partially sighted people.

The National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind

The National Federation of the Blind, established in 1940 and headquartered in Baltimore, is the oldest and largest nationwide organization of blind Americans. It operates through affiliates, chapters, and divisions across all fifty states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. The NFB coordinates various programs and services. It’s committed to defending the rights of blind Americans, providing support to blind individuals, and fostering a community for future opportunities. The NFB originated from a meeting in 1940, where members from seven states drafted a constitution emphasizing the economic and social welfare of the blind. Today, it is the largest organization of blind individuals in the United States, guided by principles of independence, equal capacity, and self-representation. Blind people can guide their collective action and shape their future through a representative form of government, with elected officers at national, state, and local levels. The organizational structure, detailed in the constitution, ensures the democratic involvement of blind individuals in decision-making processes at various levels. Since its founding, the NFB has played a vital role in improving the lives of blind people nationwide and, in some instances, globally. The organization’s comprehensive ebook, “Building the Lives We Want,” and an extensive timeline document its rich history and impactful contributions.

Society for the Blind

Society for the Blind

Established in 1954, Society for the Blind has been dedicated to offering specialized services and programs for individuals who are blind or have low vision. The organization originates from the collective efforts of committed volunteers and receives support from Lions Clubs of America. Society for the Blind officially established itself as a private nonprofit community benefit organization on December 29, 1954. Over the years, the organization has expanded its range of programs and services to adapt to the changing needs of the community.

Today, Society for the Blind operates from a 20,000 square foot facility situated at 13th and S Streets in Midtown Sacramento. Evolving from humble beginnings, the organization has grown into a nationally recognized agency. Nowadays it serves as the exclusive rehabilitative teaching center for a 27-county region of northern California for individuals who are blind or have low vision.

The initial aim of the founders was to establish a communal space for individuals with vision impairment in the Sacramento area. The current plan is to provide life and job skills, training, mentorship, and access to resources to promote independence for thousands of youth, adults, and seniors in Sacramento and the surrounding areas. Annually, over 5,000 individuals participate in Society for the Blind’s programs and services. They engage in classes at the teaching center, in-home training sessions, and community workshops.

Seva

Seva

Seva is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to eye care. It collaborates with local communities worldwide to establish sustainable programs that preserve and restore sight. Compassion is the guiding principle behind all of Seva’s efforts, acknowledging the connection of humanity.

Key principles of Seva’s blindness-prevention programs include:

  1. Serving the Underserved: Seva targets individuals who have faced economic, political, or social marginalization. The organization seeks to understand diverse cultures and circumstances, creating compassion between donors and those with the fewest resources.
  2. Promoting Sustainability: Seva’s programs prioritize self-reliance, aiming to reduce dependence on external aid. They share appropriate skills and technology adapted to local conditions, assisting in local decision-making, and supporting financial self-sufficiency of eye clinics and hospitals. Seva empowers communities to care for their own eye health.
  3. Working Through Partnerships: Seva builds long-term partnerships with the communities it serves. By developing close relationships with local eye care organizations and community leaders, the organization cultivates trust, mutual respect, and cultural understanding.

In 1978, after contributing to the eradication of smallpox in India, Dr. Larry Brilliant and Girija Brilliant initiated Seva. The organization’s roots lie in a conference of health professionals and cultural activists, including Dr. G. Venkataswamy, whose vision led to the establishment of the renowned Aravind Eye Care Systems.

JBI International

JBI International

JBI International, established in 1931 as The Jewish Braille Institute, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring access to literature for individuals of all ages and backgrounds facing blindness, visual impairment, physical handicap, or reading disability. The primary focus, the JBI Library, offers an array of Jewish interest materials in Audio, Large Print, and Braille formats, all provided free of charge and delivered to patrons’ doorsteps. Recognized as an associate agency of the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled (NLS), services extend globally, offering materials in languages such as Russian, Yiddish, Spanish, Hebrew, Hungarian, French, Romanian, and Polish.

JBI plays a crucial role in facilitating Jewish education for students with visual impairments, ensuring inclusion alongside sighted peers. Additionally, adults find joy, information, and religious observance through accessible written resources. Older adults, adjusting to severe vision loss, reconnect with the world of reading, Jewish culture, and communal activities. JBI is committed to community outreach, raising awareness of free services and reaching diverse individuals with blindness, low vision, or print disability.

Helen Keller International

Helen Keller International

Established in 1915 by Helen Keller, Helen Keller International is dedicated to eradicating preventable causes of blindness worldwide and empowering individuals with low vision to regain their sight.

In the contemporary landscape, health and food system inequalities strip over one billion people globally of their essential right to attain good health, proper nutrition, and realize their full potential. The transformation of these systems emerges as the linchpin for effecting widespread and enduring improvements in lives.

Through collaboration with a compassionate community of donors and partners, Helen Keller International provides targeted assistance to 73 million children and family members worldwide. The focus is on promoting the growth and consumption of nutritious food, combating malnutrition, fortifying immune systems, facilitating access to life-saving medical interventions, and preventing and treating blindness and vision loss. The organization upholds the legacy of co-founder Helen Keller, who ardently advocated for those who might otherwise have been marginalized.

Presently, Helen Keller International extends its assistance to children and families in 20 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe, and the United States. The organization strives to ensure access to nutritious food, prevent malnutrition, foster robust immune systems, provide essential medical care, and address blindness and vision impairment.

By offering timely and tailored support, Helen Keller International empowers millions of families and communities to break free from enduring cycles of poverty, enabling them to create sustainable positive changes in their lives.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Guiding Eyes for the Blind

Guiding Eyes for the Blind provides guide dogs to individuals with vision loss, fostering life-changing connections through over 60 years of experience and more than 10,000 successful guide dog teams since 1954. The organization relies on the goodness of a dedicated community of supporters, staff, and volunteers who collaborate to meet the diverse needs of the vision loss community.

All services, including guide dog training and care, are offered free of charge, acknowledging the potential $50,000 annual cost for the lifetime care of a guide dog. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Guiding Eyes for the Blind depends on the generosity of donors to fulfill its mission.

The organization sets worldwide standards in guide dog training as an accredited member of the International Guide Dog Federation (IGDF). The unique Successive Training & Enrichment Program (STEP) focuses on building a trust-filled relationship between raisers and dogs, enhancing the confidence and learning experience of the puppies.

Guiding Eyes for the Blind operates out of a 10-acre Headquarters and Training Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, along with the Canine Development Center in Patterson, NY, and the field-training center in White Plains, NY. The puppy raising regions extend from Maine to North Carolina and west to Colorado.

Sightsavers

Sightsavers

Sightsavers operates in over 30 countries, focusing on preventing avoidable blindness and advocating for the rights of individuals with disabilities. The organization addresses eye conditions like cataracts and combats debilitating diseases leading to sight loss, collaborating with governments and various partners to perform eye operations and distribute treatments.

Additionally, Sightsavers is actively involved in promoting the rights of people with visual impairments and other disabilities, working to enhance local health services for sustainability. The organization consistently receives high-performance ratings from the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office.

Donations to Sightsavers are allocated with 91% dedicated to essential charity work, including donated supplies, while 9% contributes to awareness and funding growth. The organization has conducted 8.8 million cataract operations, trained 313,500 people with disabilities for livelihoods, and distributed 1.6 billion treatments to prevent debilitating diseases.

In their mission to protect sight, Sightsavers focuses on preventing avoidable blindness in impoverished regions by treating conditions like cataracts and refractive errors. They also contribute to the treatment and prevention of neglected tropical diseases affecting over a billion people and actively promote equal opportunities and disability rights for education and employment.

The Blinded Veterans Association

The Blinded Veterans Association

The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) serves as ambassadors and mentors for veterans and families facing sight loss. With a vision to enhance the lives of visually impaired veterans, BVA focuses on advocacy, engagement, communication, and self-reliance. As a congressionally chartered organization, it operates for charitable, educational, and civic purposes, promoting the welfare of blinded veterans and preserving fellowship among them. Founded in 1945, BVA collaborates with the Department of Veterans Affairs, advocating for top-quality medical and rehabilitative services. Over 76 years, BVA has played a crucial role in creating Blind Rehabilitation Centers, expanding benefits eligibility, improving disability ratings, and ensuring financial compensation for survivors. The organization encourages individuals to join its legacy of “Blinded Veterans Helping Blinded Veterans and their Families.”

Impact of Blind Charities in Fostering Inclusivity and Independence

Blind charities represent beacons of hope and support for individuals navigating the challenges of visual impairment. Through their unwavering dedication, these organizations have pioneered innovative solutions, provided essential services, and advocated tirelessly for the rights and well-being of the blind and visually impaired. As we conclude our exploration of popular blind charities, it becomes evident that their impact extends far beyond mere assistance; they cultivate a sense of belonging, independence, and empowerment within the blind community. As we celebrate the remarkable work of these organizations, let us reaffirm our commitment to championing inclusivity, accessibility, and equality for all individuals, regardless of visual ability. Together, we can continue to build a more inclusive society where every individual can thrive and contribute their unique talents and perspectives.

Who serves as the primary charitable organization for those with visual impairments?

The NCBI, also known as The National Sight Loss Agency, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting individuals of all ages who are facing challenges related to their vision.

Which organization stands as the foremost advocacy group for the blind in the United States?

The National Federation of the Blind, established in 1940, holds the title as the largest association for the visually impaired in the country, striving for the full integration of blind individuals into society on equal terms.

What organizations cater to children with visual impairments?

LOOK, though modest in size, is a robust charity committed to empowering visually impaired youth to succeed. It provides a comprehensive support system including peer mentoring, support groups, and a variety of events for the youth and their families or caregivers, ensuring that no one has to face their challenges in isolation.

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