Our largest project ever – three years in the proposal stage, was approved at the end of 2011 by DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development). Blindness is a massive problem in India. “India is now home to the world’s largest number of blind people. Of the 37 million people across the globe who are blind, over 15 million are from India. What’s worse, 75% of these are cases of avoidable blindness, thanks to the country’s acute shortage of optometrists and donated eyes for the treatment of corneal blindness. While India needs 40,000 optometrists, it has only 8,000.” Source: Times of India.
The key to this particular blindness project is prevention, the premise being: What if we started screening children for these inevitable problems, and treated them early? That would mean a lifetime of productive living for these children and consequently, for their families.
All of this, would of course be accompanied by heavy-duty counseling on keeping children, especially females, in school, eye care recording and follow up and preventative measures like proper nutrition. Armed with all these components, and a very reliable, competent partner Sharda Netralay, MSSO decided to launch this huge undertaking: screening and treatment of 40,000 children in remote rural areas, acknowledged by the government as one of the poorest areas in India. Statistical predictions indicate that the project will provide treatment and intervention for around 12,000 children during its span of 5 years.
The beauty of this project is: although MSSO has to raise $196,000 over the next 5 years, DFATD will match this amount 3:1, greatly augmenting the amount that you, the donor, gives to this particular project.