The hope inherent in pursuing basic research is that sometime in the future the work will prove beneficial to society. This fruition can often take many years. However, in some instances, even the conduct of basic research can yield tangible societal benefits. I shall describe an effort that perhaps fits in this category. Named 'Project Prakash', this initiative provides sight to blind children on the one hand and helps address questions regarding brain plasticity and learning on the other. Through a combination of behavioral and brain-imaging studies, the effort has provided evidence of visual learning late in childhood and has illuminated some of the processes that might underlie such learning.