Last year, Operation Eyesight became the first and only NGO in the eye health sector to work in the challenging state called Jammu and Kashmir, India – and it’s all because of the Rotary Club of Norfolk Sunrise!
Many people in this mountainous state live in remote areas with no roads, making it extremely difficult to reach eye care services. Thanks to Norfolk Sunrise Rotary Club, we launched a Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program in partnership with the Rotary Eye Hospital in Udhampur to overcome this barrier.
Locally trained community eye health workers who know their way around Udhampur are able to screen residents living in remote areas and refer those with eye health problems for treatment. Patients who require surgery are transported by bus to the hospital.Over the past year, 70,000 people have been surveyed. Of those, 1,900 were diagnosed with cataract and another 3,500 received a free pair of prescription eyeglasses.
In February, the Norfolk Sunrise Rotary Club travelled from their Ontario home to Udhampur to see our projects first-hand. Here’s what the members had to say:
- “I was very impressed with the quality of the staff. All seemed extremely competent and very motivated. We felt very comfortable that the project is in good hands!” – J.D
- “I was totally awed by the work Operation Eyesight is doing and planning to do in India – both the quality and commitment of the staff and the volume of the work being done.” – M.D.
- “It was very touching to see how our efforts impact the daily lives of those less fortunate.” – J.M.
- “I vividly recall a villager who was functionally blind due to cataracts. Surgery allowed him to change his life from being a dependent to being a provider for his family.” – A.P.
- “Thank you for the opportunity to share in the dream of Dr. Gullison, the vision of Art Jenkyns, and the ongoing work of your team.” – J.W.
- “There can be no greater gift than to restore someone’s sight so they can regain independence and a productive life.” – S.M.
The Norfolk Sunrise Rotary Club has been supporting Operation Eyesight for 20 years and will continue to fundraise for projects in Udamphur, including a dinner planned for October 1. If you’re in the Simcoe area and would like to get tickets, be sure to check norfolksunrise.org for updates.
Thank you, Norfolk Sunrise Rotary Club, for your dedicated support – and thank you, John Wallace, for sharing your Club’s story with us. Rotarians truly are making a difference in the lives of others… for all the world to see!