"Imperfect is the Joy not shared by all."
Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy, founder of Aravind Eye Care System
The joy of sight is something most of us take for granted. But imagine never seeing the smile on your grandchild’s face because of cataracts. Imagine not having sight as a child due to cancer. Imagine not being able to work because diabetes has left you blind. All of these things happen in India.
Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy (Dr. V) founded the Aravind Eye Care System with the vision of eliminating needless blindness and giving everyone the joy of sight. Last year, Aravind doctors saw more than 3 million patients and performed 350,000 sight-saving surgeries, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay.
But we couldn’t have done it without you! Global Giving donors support two very important aspects of Aravind’s work: 1)Spectacles for school children and 2) the Ring of Hope, which provides treatment for children with eye cancer.
Through our hospital in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, Aravind health workers screened 36,633 school children and provided 947 pairs of eye glasses in 2012. The program has been so successful that we will be expanding it to our other hospitals, beginning with Aravind Pondicherry in 2013.
Retinoblastoma is a virulent, often fatal form of eye cancer that affects primarily children. The treatment is complicated and lengthy, requiring chemotheraphy, radiation and surgery, and is too expensive for most Indian families. Since the Ring of Hope was established in 2004. Aravind has treated a total of 912 patients free of charge. Last year alone, Aravind treated 105 children and 33 adults, and fitted 47 patients with custom-fitted prosthetic eyes.
Behind the numbers are grandmothers, school children, farmworkers, and many more who have received the gift of sight, thanks to your generosity. We at Aravind wish you a very happy new year, and hope that you will continue to support us in 2013.
Your donation helped a child go to the head of the class!
Imagine if you could not see the blackboard when your teacher is writing a mathematical formula. Or, what if the words in your history book appeared blurred and meaningless? Education is the ticket out of the circle of poverty, and poor vision severely impairs a child’s ability to learn.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1.4 million children are blind worldwide and millions more are visually impaired. In India alone, there are about 30 million children who need some type of eye care intervention. Ironically 80% of vision impairment is needless and can be corrected through simple cataract surgery or by an even simpler solution -- a pair of spectacles.
To address these problems, Aravind set the ambitious goal of screening one million preschool and school children by August 2013. Now, in its second year, we have screened 664,417 children and trained 4,417 preschool teachers and 3,447 school teachers to recognize eyesight problems.
Aravind provides the training and screening free of charge, but your donations have provided spectacles for children identified with vision problems. A gift of $25 buys five pairs of eyeglasses for school children. To date, more than 16,000 pairs of eyeglasses have been given to the children in India. Aravind and our young friends say, “THANK YOU!”
You can help even more children in India go to the head of the glass by donating to Aravind on Global Giving’s Bonus Day, Wednesday, October 17.
Every week at Aravind we see patients who are in need of treatment that can help prevent loss of sight and Aravind provides free treatment for majority of its cataract patients from its surplus, however the funds received from generous donors like you help us extend this free treatment in other areas of need. This year so far under the Ring of Hope project, Aravind has provided 279 free consultations and treatment for Retinablastoma, and provided free surgery for 36 children. Also, they have provided custom fit- prosthetic eyes to 60 patients free of charge.
Aravind appreciates the support of Global Giving and its donors to help continue their mission of “eliminating needless blindness” globally. Here is a story of a family whose four children were affected with Retinoblastoma and how Aravind’s intervention saved them.
Ayyasamy and Rani lived in a small village in Tanjore district. They were blessed with four children. Long back, their first two children developed eye cancer. The children were given treatment in some hospital, but of no use. Both of them passed away as the cancer spread to other parts of the body.
Days passed by, Ayyasamy and Rani learnt that their third child, Harini too had been affected with this debilitating disease in both the eyes. They took her to Aravind Eye Hospital. Cancer in the left eye was really in an advanced stage and the doctors suggested enucleation to save the life of the girl. Compared to the condition in the left eye, the cancer in the right eye was less severe and so, chemotherapy was advised so as to make sure that the disease did not spread to other parts of the body. Further examinations after chemotherapy showed positive results and the child’s vision was saved. The parents heaved a sigh of relief.
But it did not last long. Their fourth child was diagnosed with cancer in the right eye. Thermotherapy with laser was suggested by the doctors as the cancer was in the initial stage. The child’s vision was saved. Even though the parents lost two children to retinoblastoma, they were happy afterwards that they could save the life and vision of the remaining two. They were extremely grateful to the Aravind Eye Hospital and also to the Ring of Hope project for having provided their children gift of sight and life.