About us

The National Institute for the Visually Handicapped (NIVH) owes its origin to St. Dunstan’s Hostel for the War Blinded established in 1943, which offered a basic set of rehabilitation services to the soldiers and sailors blinded in the World War II. In 1950, the Government of India took over the St. Dunstan’s Hostel and entrusted the Ministry of Education with the responsibility of developing comprehensive services for the rehabilitation of blind persons. Subsequently, services for the blind witnessed remarkable expansion. In the same year, the Government established the Training Centre for the Adult Blind to ensure reintegration of blind soldiers including other persons in the world of work. In 1951, the Government established Central Braille Press; in 1952, Workshop for the manufacturing of Braille Appliances; in 1954, Sheltered Workshop; in 1975 Training Centre for the Adult Blind Women and in 1959, Model School for the Visually Handicapped. In 1963, National Library for the Print Handicapped was established out of which National Talking Book Library was carved out in the year 1990. On integration of all the Units in 1967, the Government established National Centre for the Blind (NCB). This Cent re was further upgraded as National Institute for the Visually Handicapped in the year 1979 and finally in October 1982, it was registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and gained the status of an Autonomous Body.


The NIVH has its Headquarters at 116, Rajpur Road, Dehradun with one Regional Centre at Chennai (Tamil Nadu) established in 1988 and two Regional Chapters at Kolkata (W.B.) and Secunderabad (Andhra Pradesh) established in the year 1997. These Chapters provide peripheral services and are being served by a small component of Officers and Staff transferred from the Headquarters, whereas, Regional Centre at Chennai is a full-fledged Institute with staff strength of 30 headed by a Regional Director. The Institute also coordinates and supervises Composite Regional Centre for Persons with Disabilities, Sundernagar (H.P.) established in the year 2001.


The campus at Dehradun is spread across 1,74,150 sq. meters (43 acres) of land area. There are 14 office buildings having plinth area of 19,000 sq. meters, 119 residential quarters having plinth area of 7,800 sq. meters, 3 hostel buildings having plinth area of 13,500 sq. meters and a dispensary building of 350 sq. meters plinth area. It has 11,700 sq. meters of roads, water supply lines, sewerage lines, electrical supply lines etc.


The NIVH Regional Centre, Poonamallee, Chennai has a total land area of 24,300 sq. meters (6 acres). Its Training Block measures 761.34 Sq. Meters Plinth Area, Administrative Block has 388.12 Sq. Meters Plinth Area , Hostel Block with Mess of 1000.47 Sq. Meters Plinth Area and Ladies Hostel Block has 715 Sq. Meters Plinth Area.


Aims and Objectives


The aims and objectives of the NIVH as stated in the Memorandum of Association are as follows:


  • To conduct, sponsor, co-ordinate and/or subsidize research in collaboration with other NGOs and research organizations including Universities into various dimensions of the education and rehabilitation of the visually impaired.
  • To undertake, sponsor, co-ordinate or subsidise research into biomedical engineering leading to the effective evaluation of special appliances/instruments or suitable surgical or medical procedures or the development of new special appliances/instruments.
  • To undertake or sponsor the training of trainees and various specialized professionals including Teachers, Employment Officers, Psychologists, Vocational Counsellors and such other personnel as deemed necessary.
  • To distribute, promote, or subsidise the manufacture of prototypes and to manage distribution of any or all devices designed to promote any aspect of the education, rehabilitation or employment of the Visually Impaired.

In order to achieve the aims and objectives, following Departments and Units are functioning:

    1. Department of Special Education
    2. Department of Vocational Training/Training Centre for the Adult Blind
    3. Department of Psychology: Counselling and Crisis Intervention
    4. Model School for the Visually Handicapped
    5. Braille Development Unit
    6. Design and Development Unit
    7. Rehabilitation and Consultancy Unit
    8. Placement Unit
    9. National Talking Book Library
    10. National Library for the Print Handicapped
    11. Central Braille Press
    12. Workshop for the Manufacturing of Aids and Appliances
    13. Mass Media Unit


Evolution of the Institute at a glance


1943 St. Dunstan’s Hostel established for rehabilitation of the War blinded personnel

1950 Training Centre for the Adult Blind (Men) taking over St. Dunstan’s Hostel by the

Ministry of Education.

1951 Setting of the Central Braille Press

1952 Setting of the Workshop to manufacture Aids and Appliances

1954 Setting of the Sheltered Workshop: Now Closed

1957 Setting of the Training Centre for the Adult Blind (Women)

1959 Model School for the Visually Handicapped

1963 National Library for the Print Handicapped

1967 National Centre for the Blind integrating all the Units

1979 National Institute for the Visually Handicapped Up-gradation of NCB

1982 NIVH converted into an autonomous body

1988 Regional Centre, Chennai

1990 National Talking Book Library, earlier Talking Book Unit of NLPH since 1984

1997 Regional Chapters, Kolkata and Secunderabad

2000 District Disability Rehabilitation Centres Established:08,Handed over:07

2001 Composite Regional Centre, Sundernagar (HP)

2007 National Braille Press Forum

2007 National Braille and Talking Book Libraries Forum

2008 Department of Special Education & Disability Studies

2008 Regional Braille Press, Chennai

2008 Braille Council of India

2008 Extension Library and Sales Counters 21




NIVH is governed by the Management & Advisory Bodies.



NAB Center for Women & Disability Studies

 In October 2002, Centre for Blind Women named after its kind donors Smt. and Sh. Saradindu Basu was started in the lovely location of Hauz Khas Enclave in New Delhi with the help of a committee consisting the founder member, Ms. Devyani Sirkar, then  Hony. Secy. Genl. Dr. R.T. Vyas, then E.D Mr. Jaywant, Ms. Ela Mehta, Ms. Anuradha Mohit and the NAB Delhi President Sh. Jagdish Kapur.

The vision of the committee was to provide rehabilitation, training, education, guidance and dignity in the lives of thousands of visually impaired girls and women, thereby empowering them to come out of the dark corners of their double disability.

In the last nine years, the NAB India Centre has supported directly more than 550 total blind women beneficiaries, to access  Higher Education, gain Employment and become self reliant, and rehabilitated them to not only find gainful careers but also set up their homes with successful marriages. The blind women come to the centre from different States of the country like Bihar, Uttrakhand, M.P., U.P., Rajasthan, Haryana, H.P., Punjab, Jammu, Manipur, Assam and even from the neighboring countries like Nepal.

In less than a decade the centre has many achievements to its credit and is today proud to bridge the gap between education and empowerment, trainings and employments, between schooling and actual rehabilitation for the visually impaired girls.