Bengaluru: India has one third of the worlds visually challenged people. It is the responsibility of every citizen and more so the religious who are specially committed to the society, to respond this situation.
About sixty nuns from various congregations pledged to donate their eyes in a program organised at the Indian Institute of Spirituality in Bangalore last Monday. More than just pledging to donate their eyes, they also committed to take this message back to their Congregations and places of work becoming Vision Ambassadors.
They were led to this decision by The Project Vision movement that is working for the visually challenged persons, an initiative of the Claretian Fathers under the leadership of Fr GeorgeKannanthanam. An awareness program for the Sisters motivated them to work for this cause. According to Fr George, this is a Biblical work since Jesus had a special love for the blind people, as expressed through the six bible miracle stories of curing them.
There are 39 million visually challenged people in the world, out of which 15 million are in India. Their life situation is very miserable due to the physical, social, psychological and economic challenges they face. Most of them just donâ€™t find it possible to survive and give up.
During the program, the different ways of helping the visually challenge were presented. Fr George told them not to bury or burn their eyes. They are could be eye sight for someone else. He urged them to leave it back after their death, for someone who has never seen the world.
Eye donation sadly has not become a norm in the society. India needs about 140,000 cornea operations an year, but only about 40,000 corneas are donated, leaving about 100,000 people to the waiting list for a cornea transplant. Thus there is need for promoting this as a movement so that eventually eye donation would become a norm in the Society. These Sisters working in different parts of the country will carry this message to the places of their work and spread it through their communities and institutions.
Fr George urged each one of them be a Vision Ambassador, by promoting this cause. Vision Ambassador will also do the very important role of coordinating between the bereaved family and the eye bank in the event of someone’s death. They need to talk to the family members to encourage them to make a decision to donate the eyes of their family member. If they are ready, the nearest eye bank is to be contacted so that the eyes can be harvested within six hours for transplant.
If all the religious of India would take up this as a part of their commitment to this most suffering group of blind people, the entire of need of cornea transplant can be met.
You may contact The Project Vision for further information at www.theprojectvision.org.