Health
 India
Project #1035

Give the Gift of Sight to the poor in India

by Aravind Eye Foundation

Dear friends,

Nandri is "thank you" in Tamil, and I am just back from Tamil Nadu, India, bringing many thanks from our patients and our staff.  As always, I was amazed by the dedication, skill, and efficiency of the Aravind doctors and nurses -- please know that your donation goes a long way at Aravind! 

It was especially memorable for me, because my 14-year-old daughter accompanied me and saw many of the programs that you support.  And, travelling with a teenager is always interesting! 

We travelled about an hour and a half to Aruppukottai, where we observed a school vision screening and saw first-hand how much work is involved.  The team started setting up at 7 am, and soon, kids were lining up to have their vision checked and to choose eye glasses.  Most of the kids couldn't believe what they'd been missing before they got their spectacles!  By the end of the Indian school year, your donations helped provide nearly 11,000 eye glasses to school kids in Tamil Nadu.  

We also spent time with families in Aravind's eye cancer ward.  These are children, mostly between newborn and five years of age, who suffer from from retinoblastoma, a blinding, often fatal, eye cancer that can be treated successfully if diagnosed early.  However, the treatment can cost well over $1000, and that is, quite simply, a fortune to most families in India.  The kids we met are lucky -- once they get to Aravind, their treatment and all follow-up visits, including travel for their families, are covered by your donations.  

I wish you could have joined us on this trip -- perhaps a future visit!  I invite you to learn more about our work and visit us online (www.aravind.org). Please email me if you have any comments or questions about Aravind at donnacampbell@aravind.org.  And, if you like what we are doing, please tell your family and friends!

With gratitude, Donna  

P.S.  Please enjoy our new video about Aravind, "Healing the Eyes of the World".   

Links:

It's hard to believe that 2016 is almost over!  This year, Aravind treated nearly 4 million patients and performed more than 400,000 sight-saving surgeries.  Behind those very big numbers are some very small patients -- children who suffer from retinoblastoma, an eye cancer that afflicts ages 0 to 5 years.   Many of these kids come from very poor families and could not afford treatment without your help.

One of those kids is Pradin.  His parents brought him to Aravind with tumors in both eyes at age three months.  The doctors at Aravind advised that treatment be started immediately, including the removal of one eye.  You can imagine how shocking and upsetting this news was to Pradin’s parents.  Neither of them is educated; the father is a day laborer, making less than $2 a day.

They took Pradin to other doctors, hoping for a different diagnosis, but instead the eye became worse.  Finally, a year later, they returned to Aravind and had the surgery.  Pradin received a complete cycle of treatment – surgery, chemotherapy, counseling, and a custom-made prosthesis – all free of charge. The family was so grateful for the care and kindness they received at Aravind that two years later, they brought their baby daughter to be screened.  Happily, she is cancer-free.   

This year, 33 new cancer patients and 610 review patients received free treatment, thanks to generous donors like you.  We have also started to pay for travel for the poorest patients, because we discovered that they were not returning to the hospital for essential follow-up visits. Since 2004, 452 children’s sight and/or lives have been saved, 5,693 patient visits have been funded, and 236 patients have received a custom-made prosthesis.

Thank you again for your generosity.  There are so many worthy causes in the world, and I am personally touched that you choose to support Aravind.  You truly are part of the ring of hope that surrounds our patients and their families.  I hope that we can continue to count on your support, and I wish you a joyful holiday season, full of all good things.

In gratitude,

Donna Campbell, Executive Director

Have you noticed a lot more kids wearing eye glasses?  We have, too! Turns out the wonderful devices that give us access to the internet and information at our fingertips take a toll on our eyesight.  The same screens closing the digital divide are creating a visual divide.  

There are lots of things that we can do to lessen the effects of too much screen time -- good nutrition, outdoor exercise, frequent breaks, proper lighting (turns out your mother was right about reading in the dark) -- but the fact is that more and more children will need eye glasses to do well in school and participate in sports and afterschool activities.  

That why your gift to the Aravind Eye Foundation is so important and why we are so grateful for your support.  India's school year starts in June, and so far, we've provided 6800 pairs of eye glasses to children between the ages of 0 and 16, with your help.  We aim to double that number by the end of March 2017.  

Aravind trains classroom teachers to do an initial vision screening, and then our doctors and nurses do a full eye exam on the kids who seem to have trouble seeing.  All paid for by Aravind -- your donations go directly to buy the glasses, which cost roughly $6.00 each.  And, the teachers make sure the kids wear them.  

Thank you for your help!  I am visiting our vision screening programs in India in February, and I can't wait.  It is magical to see a child's face light up when they see the blackboard clearly for the first time.  In the meantime, I wanted to share a few photos from another visit.  If you have any questions, please email me at donnacampbell@aravind.org.  I would love to hear from you!  

In gratitude, 

Donna Campbell, Executive Director

 

"Intelligence and capability are not enough.  There must be the joy of doing something beautiful."
From the Journals of Dr. G. Venkataswamy, founder of Aravind Eye Care System

Links:

Two-year-old Rohit at Aravind
Two-year-old Rohit at Aravind's Cancer Center

I want to introduce you to Rohit.  Rohit is a beautiful chubby toddler, just two years of age, and full of energy and mischief.  His family comes from Pondicherry, my favorite city in India, where bustling 21st century India exists side-by-side with its French colonial legacy.  

Like many families in India, Rohit’s parents come from a very poor background.  His father is mute, and his mother struggles to take care of her family.  His grandfather helps out with living expenses.  

Rohit’s parents brought him to Aravind with a tumor in one eye.  Surgery was necessary to remove the eye to stop the spread of cancer.  There was no way that his family could afford the extensive treatment to save Rohit’s vision and life. 

That’s where you come in – your support made it possible for Rohit to have surgery and receive a custom prosthesis (and new ones as he grows to adulthood).  He has responded so well to treatment that he no longer needs chemotherapy.  He visits Aravind for regular follow-ups (also paid for by your donations), and otherwise is living a happy and healthy life.  And, getting into more mischief.   

Thank you so much for your continued support and your trust in us.  We would love to hear from you – you can contact me at donnacampbell@aravind.org, if you have any questions about how your donations are being used, or would like to know more about our programs.  And, if you happen to be near Madurai, Tamil Nadu, let us know!!! 

With gratitude, Donna Campbell, Executive Director

P.S.  Last year, your donations helped pay for nearly 600 patients to receive treatment at Aravind – we are planning to double that number in 2016, because the need is so great.  Can you help us? 

"Intelligence and capability are not enough.  There must be the joy of doing something beautiful."
From the Journals of Dr. G. Venkataswamy, founder of Aravind Eye Care System
Thank you from the children at Vallalar School.
Thank you from the children at Vallalar School.

Dear friends,

School is out in South India, and kids are getting a well-deserved break from their studies.  But at Aravind, we are getting ready for our busiest year yet with our Spectacles for Scholars program -- all ten of our hospitals will participate, and 500,000 children between the ages of 5 and 17 will be screened for vision problems. 

It's incredible that such a small intervention -- a pair of spectacles -- can have such a major impact on a child's development.  Free eye glasses have been shown to improve math’s scores as much as reducing class size!  Wearing eye glasses produces the same effect as six months’ more education!  And, of course, the impact is even greater among the poor, where education is the only way to a better life. 

Aravind has a lot of experience with school vision screening.  Since we started the Spectacles for Scholars program in 2004, we’ve screened more than 2 million children in 2500 schools and provided nearly 75,000 eye glasses.    

And, that’s where you come in.  Aravind doctors and nurses provide teacher training and screenings free of charge, but your donations buy eye glasses for families who can’t afford them.  Thank you for your thoughtful generosity – we couldn’t do this without you! 

Warmest regards, 

Donna Campbell, Executive Director 

P.S.  Stay tuned – by 2020, Aravind plans to screen 1 million children a year!

 

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Organization Information

Aravind Eye Foundation

Location: New York - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.aravindeyefoundation.org
Project Leader:
Chitra Prasad
Project contact
Madurai, Tamil Nadu India
$64,143 raised of $250,000 goal
 
869 donations
$185,857 to go
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