Illuminating Lives: Protecting Eyesight of Rural Students

Vision for a Brighter Future:

Vision of the Eyes plays a crucial role in life not just for basic ease of living but has a major impact on a person’s activities and ability to learn and earn. As such it plays a vital role in the society’s economic growth too. But what if the vision of our dreams and eyes becomes blurred? Good vision is crucial for students’ success in school. It affects the ability to read, write, and engage in visual tasks. Access to quality education, healthcare facilities, and infrastructure facilities is difficult for children in rural areas. 

An estimated 25 million children in India have refractive errors that glasses can correct. However, many of these children need access to affordable eye care, especially in rural areas where the authorities need more information, communication, and ineffective reach.

The Kalgidhar Society, in collaboration with VisionSpring, has undertaken a project to address this pressing concern. This initiative aims to empower rural students and pave the way for a brighter tomorrow by providing free eye screenings and distributing glasses. 

Impact of Poor Eyesight on Students’ Development

Poor vision is one of the most commonly ignored healthcare issues among children. Poor eyesight in children can cause hindrance in social, emotional, and academic development. Inadequate vision can hinder reading, writing, and comprehension skills, leading to frustration and a lack of confidence. It may also lead to behavioural problems or a false learning disability diagnosis in some circumstances. 

Early detection and intervention, and starting treatment well in time in the early stages, is more effective, both in terms of ease of treatment, as well as cost and efficacy of vision, leading to a better quality of life.

Poor eyesight leads to many health problems like headaches, eyestrain, etc. Moreover, impaired vision might affect a person’s ability to be independent, safe, and in the workforce and thus result in poor academic performance, absenteeism, and dropping out altogether.

Collaborating for a Brighter Future 

To promote healthy social, emotional, and academic development, and to identify and treat poor eyesight among the students in Akal Academies, The Kalgidhar Trust, Baru Sahib, and VisionSpring Foundation have teamed up to bring sight to 70000 rural students, empowering them for a brighter future. In 129 Akal Academies running in rural areas of Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh, The Kalgidhar Trust Baru Sahib not only provides holistic education but also endeavors to take care of their health and ensures that students do not face any hindrances while studying.

VisionSpring, founded by Dr. Jordan Kassalow, is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 as the Scojo Foundation. It was later changed to VisionSpring in 2008-2009 to reach and provide affordable, quality glasses to more than a billion people worldwide who need them. Under this collaboration, students of Akal Academies will be screened free of cost by the medical team of VisionSpring, and students will be counseled on the healthy practices for their necessary eye care. Students having refractive errors shall be given glasses free of cost. 

Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

With this partnership, The Kalgidhar Trust has achieved United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development SDG3 – Good Health and Well-being, SDG 4- Quality Education, SDG 10- Reduced Inequalities, SDG -17 Partnerships for the Goals.

Phases of Illumination: Empowering Students with Bright Vision

Eye checkup camps were conducted in the program’s first phase, Jan 2023. The VisionSpring team, consisting of an optometrist, project coordinator, and counselor, visited the academies. The group performed eye screening and refractive error detection for 9000 students. Glasses were distributed to those who needed them within 15 days from the day of eve screening by the VisionSpring Team.

The program’s second phase started in April 2023, where screening and distributing free glasses to 4000 students was done. So far, 15000 students in 30 Akal Academies have benefitted

Sustainability of the Project

The Kalgidhar Trust, Baru Sahib, believes in the project’s sustainability In collaboration with VisionSpring, students were given counseling regarding everyday practices to maintain good eye care and symptoms that require eye checkups. A team of teachers at Akal Academies shall be trained for the periodic testing of students to care for their eyesight.

Promoting Inclusive and Equitable Education

This partnership is a significant step towards providing inclusive and equitable health and education.

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Contact Dr.Harmeet Singh: 97111 93845
Email At: harmeetsingh@barusahib.org

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