Card with a message: Nidhi Kaila`s mission for the blind

Last Updated: May 25, 2011, 13:17 PM IST

New Delhi: She is an IIM-Kolkata alumnus, a devoted mother, a working woman and an avid blogger. But Nidhi Kaila still finds time for a cause close to her heart - to help visually impaired people, make them self-reliant and independent.

Kaila`s mission, being made possible through Esha, the Bangalore-based group that works to create equal opportunities for the blind, has taken her to the innovative idea of making Braille-enabled visiting cards for corporates.

She believes the card in itself carries the message of care, compassion and empowerment of people who are blind.

Kaila, 34, considers Esha as her first baby. It was founded in 2005 with the sole purpose of finding a dignified way of generating income for visually impaired people.

The task is to instil confidence among them and show them a direction.

"The aim was to devise innovative ways and means of sustainable livelihood for the blind, to make them self-reliant and independent," Kaila told reporters in an interview.

"We also wanted to have activities to sensitise the non-blind towards the special skills and needs of the blind," she said.

So when Kaila decided to do Braille-enabled visiting cards for the corporates, this was the first-of-its kind concept.

The initiative was well-received.

Kaila said: "When I first started talking about blind entrepreneurs making these cards, no one had heard of Braille-enabled visiting cards or of blind entrepreneurs. But it wasn`t that people didn`t appreciate this new attempt or didn`t try it. They were quite supportive."

"Today, five years later, there is a lot more awareness and also a lot more acceptance," she added.

Kaila, who operates from Gurgaon near capital city Delhi, admits it`s her salary that helps her to run this organisation, which is mainly helped by volunteers, except for an employee in Bangalore, where the delivery unit operates.

She usually gets visually impaired volunteers from the schools for the blind and then teaches them through special workshops, where they learn to make visiting cards.

Kaila also explains the reason why corporates like the idea of having a Braille-enabled card.

It is because they have been selling the idea of "making your first impression the lasting one", she said.

"Today people want to be different. We sell the idea to corporates telling them that if you will have this language on your card, you are spreading the word that `you know and you care` and so in a way you are giving something back to society," she said.

Kaila added: "And when it comes as cheap as Re.1 a card, then why would a person shy away from flaunting it? We can get it done on the already printed visting cards as well. I have been getting great response from metros. I must say Mumbai has been the most receptive of them all."

This is not the first time Kalia is working for the visually challenged people.

Ever since her collage days, way back in 1994, she was part of the National Service Scheme (NSS). Later she was giving free consulting service to an NGO during management course.

Kaila`s zest for her organisation keeps her on toes all the time even as she effortlessly manages her family and her work with the same passion she has nurtured over all these years.

Kaila however points out it is more than passion.

"It is not rocket science. In fact, it`s not even difficult. So, yes, I do have thoughts on the subject, but it`s not as simple as having the passion.. it`s a little more complicated than that," she said.

"I have to say that my family has been very supportive. No one can do this without the family`s support. My entire family takes pride in my work and allows me to do Esha`s work.

"For instance, on Saturdays, when I have to do full day Esha workshops, my husband babysits," said the mother of three-and-a-half-year-old Ishaan.

IANS