A chemical engineer by trade, Vora’s CV is inundated with accomplishments including multiple degrees and a wealth of experience in other industries such as in business and teaching–indicating a long and prosperous career. Because of his good fortune, Dr. Vora, like many fellow immigrants who have flourished in the United States, brings the fruits of his labor back home.
He currently manages his own global consulting firm www.b-einc.com and travels internationally to educate college students on Operations Management, as well serving as a Fulbright specialist. However, the numerous titles and rewards do well in disguising the bumps in his journey to success, of which there were plenty.
In 1989, while still bringing his career aspirations to life, Dr. Vora launched a project called Blind Foundation of India.
India is home to the largest population of blind people in the world–over 15 million. Because of there is a stigma attached to the impairment, many are unable to seek help or find resources to lead a normal life due to lack of aid from government and hospital.
BFI was inspired by a traumatic childhood experience from his childhood in which he temporarily lost his eyesight. As a youth, he was raised by his grandparents after becoming orphaned at a young age. Despite his loss, Dr. Vora was never short of love from his doting new parents. However, he was forced to consider the state of his future after an incident that left him briefly blind.
“In 1959, when I was 14 in my hometown of Gujarat, I was playing with fireworks during Diwali,” he recounts. “One of them burst in my face and I couldn’t see.”
He spent the next day in the hospital recovering and wondering how the course of his life would change. Fortunately, Dr. Vora regained his eyesight–as well as a newly emphatic concern for the visually impaired.
Only one percent of blind people are born without sight–the other 99% lose their sight over time. BFI has made its mission to raise money to treat for eye care as well as educate on best practices in taking care of one’s eyes to prevent losing sight. The efforts have culminated over $4 million to support one million Indians.
Per their official website, the organization has provided over 150,00 cataract operations free of cost, 10,000 braille kits, set up transportation of medical supplies and professionals among other services.
“This is a volunteer-run organization,” he added. “We don’t have an office.”
Social responsibility is a key driver in Dr. Vora’s motivation to enrich a community that enabled him to succeed. In addition to BFI, Dr. Vora spearheads a second initiative designed to share indispensable “soft skills” to Indian professionals looking to amplify and improve their careers and lives.
Dubbed Gift of Knowledge Transfer Leveraging Technology, the program seeks to educate Indian students, faculty and working-class on utilizing life skills like time management, teamwork, risk and project management that are fundamental to problem-solving and performance excellence at work.
He described his life as a student early in his career. He was well-equipped with knowledge in his field but was too shy to respond to inquiries that he knew the answers to.
Dr. Vora became aware of the fact that public speaking and management skills were vital for any career to thrive. Too often, he says, Indians neglect these traits in favor of obtaining technical skills, without educating themselves on how to properly manage it–rendering the tech skills useless.
“India needs community management in all sectors,” said Vora.
He attributes the lack of soft skills to the education system in the country, where the curriculum teaches students to simply hold a job instead of learning ways to climb the ladder. The knowledge, he says, needs to be renewed.
Dr. Vora takes advantage of services like Google Hangouts in addition to posting YouTube videos of his teachings. He travels occasionally to give lectures and has presented several Ted Talks in both Chicago and various cities in India to impart wisdom he has collected over the span of his 42-year career.
“When you look out for others, God takes care of you,” he said. “I’m so lucky.”