A pioneer institution in the city of Pune working in a field of welfare for the visually impaired, started in 1934 by Dr. S. R. Machave, an eminent medical man, devoted particularly to the cause of the visually impaired. The school has over the years made commendable strives in rehabilitating blind boys and girls as useful members of the society.
Cummins' longest running Corporate Responsibility initiative began in 1974, supporting the Poona School and Home for the Blind Girls. Housing close to 150 girls in the age group 5 to 35 years, the school helps students achieve dignity through self-reliance. These visually impaired children are provided with education and are taught in Bharatiya Braille up to fourth standard under the able guidance of qualified & trained teachers. After their primary schooling, the students enter integrated schools where they study at par with the students with eyesight and appear for public exams. In addition to the educational facilities, students aged 18 and above are given lessons in commercially viable activities like cane work, candle making, tailoring, weaving, handloom, knitting, book binding etc. at the Vocational Training Centre. The primary reason for imparting such vocational training is to give students the independence to choose their source of livelihood.
Cummins has been actively involved with the institute right from its inception, helping with water connections, assisting with landscaping and maintenance of facilities. Cummins India Foundation (CIF) has also significantly contributed to the healthcare of the Blind School students. The Foundation helped the school get connected with the local NGO, Samavedana, for neurological screenings of three students and recently sponsored the hand surgery of one Blind School student to separate her fingers enabling her to read Braille.
The donation of a Braille printer to the school was made by CIF in conjunction with generous contributions from Cummins global business leaders who visited the school in January 2006. CIF has also supported the school to set up an Occupational Therapy and Exercise Room for the residents to help promote sensory-motor coordination. Other areas where CIF supports the blind school in their endeavors towards self-reliance, is by organizing annual exhibitions, purchasing of their products, providing them with a perennial nature of work - cloth napkins etc.
In addition, the recent endeavor by Cummins employees to create a Kitchen Garden has immensely benefitted the residents. Cummins employees regularly dedicate their time in assisting in growing various vegetables on the land within the Blind School premises. The vegetables grown here are used by the students residing in the hostel. From de-weeding the land after every produce, to helping in sowing seeds, to cutting the crops and handing them over to the School administration, Cummins employees are actively involved at each stage of the Kitchen garden.
Another initiative is that of making newspaper bags, which has not only enhanced their capabilities but also been a source of revenue generation for the School.