SAC holds “EYECONIC 2024” – A Celebration of Ability in Disability

The Sahodaya Association of St Aloysius College, Mangaluru, organized “EYECONIC 2024” on January 20, 2024, in L F Rasquinha Hall of LCRI Block. The event aimed to provide visually challenged achievers a platform to share their experiences and achievements.

The event was compered by Dr Mona Mendonca, Department of History, and featured a thematic song composed by Rohan Jeethan Dsa, a student of third year B.A. The event was then inaugurated with the lighting of the lamp by the dignitaries. 

Addressing the gathering, Rev. Fr Melwin Pinto, SJ, Rector, St Aloysius College Institutions, shared his own set of experiences with the vision impaired and how their resilience had impacted his own life. He said “We should remember that even though we have potential, we should never take them for granted. I have seen the talents and skills of blind folks, who unleash them with a true vision. Our four visionaries have their experiences to narrate, which will surely inspire and motivate us. They are a blessing to us.” 

Rev. Dr Praveen Martis, SJ, the Principal, addressed the gathering and expressed his gratefulness to have such distinguished luminaries at St Aloysius College. He remarked that “If you lose vision you will lose everything in life. But here we have four individuals who might have lost their eyesight but still have a vision to do great things in the future. We need to be proud of their achievements despite their disabilities, which is nothing but marvellous and worth appreciating.”

The winners of the various competitions held in the days prior to the event were announced. The winners included Richard Paul (1st BA) for Poetry Writing, Shika Arun (1st BSc) for Poster Making, and Neel Arun (1st BCA) for Short Film. The four guest speakers along with Mr Anvith G Kumar, an alumnus of St Aloysius College and a Gold Medalist, who is currently pursuing Ph.D. at Mangalore University were felicitated for their achievements.

The event then saw the speakers including Mr Vishal Jain, a Global HR Consultant, Mrs. Arpita Chandrashekar, a Bank Officer, Mr Shreyas Reddy, an Advocate and Social Activist, and Ms Megha Patangi, an Accessibility Specialist share their stories with the audience. Their narratives ranged from their personal struggles in dealing with the vision impairment to the rejection they had to face in various stages of their lives. But each of them also had a story to tell of that one person who helped them strengthen their resolve to fight the odds. The stories accounted by the speakers inspired the audience to empathise with their condition and become aware of the struggles faced by persons with disabilities.

The program was concluded with a panel discussion moderated by Dr Charles V Furtado, Director of Admin Block. Dr Charles had played a pivotal role in the conception of the outreach program named ‘Sahodaya’ which literally means “Blossoming Together”. In the 23 years since its conception, the association has gained rapid momentum with over 100 students at present volunteering to be a part of the association.

About the Speakers:
Vishal Jain, HR Professional

Vishal is an MBA from IIM Lucknow and has over 10 yrs of experience across Automobile and Energy Sectors. He has worked with Tata Motors in Mumbai and is currently a Global HR Consultant with Shell in Bangalore. He is a passionate mountaineer to achieve the feat of reaching Mt Everest Base Camp at 18,200 ft above sea level. Vishal has dedicated himself to enable individuals with disabilities to realize their capabilities and foster a more inclusive world.

Arpita Chandrashekar, Bank Officer
Arpita is a postgraduate in Special Education. She started her career as a teacher and later as a project coordinator at the All India Confederation of the Blind in Delhi. During this time, she travelled across the country, working with visually impaired women in empowering, educating and creating awareness on their rights. She has participated in the formulation of the UN Convention of Rights of People with Disabilities to have represented the South Asian people with Disabilities. Since 2014, she has been employed at Corporation Bank, as an Officer.

Shreyas Reddy, Advocate and Social Activist
Shreyas, the founder of Samatva Centre for Social Cause, is an advocate and a social activist. He has obtained MBA, MA (Sociology), LLM in Corporate and Commercial Law and BA LLB degrees and is currently pursuing his PhD. He is instrumental in providing pro bono legal services to the needy. Shreyas is an academician who believes in educating and empowering women, marginalized youth and differently abled persons.

Megha Patangi, Accessibility Specialist
Megha is visually impaired due to Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). She works as an Accessibility Specialist in Pegasystems Worldwide India and is a qualified Company Secretary with a part time certification on interior designing. She regularly volunteers for various NGOs working for the empowerment and employment of persons with visual impairment, where she teaches the students Digital Accessibility. Megha is passionate about teaching, cooking, travelling and connecting with new people.