As vice-president of International Programs, I am frequently in close contact with people in India and Africa. When I’ve visited these places, I’ve been struck by the vulnerability of children living in poverty.
When poverty leads to blindness, it’s truly heartbreaking because there is little hope without outside help. Countless children miss out on an education, simply because they can’t afford a pair of eyeglasses – they can’t see the chalkboard or focus on words in books. The little girls, especially, are doomed to live wretched, marginalized lives if no one reaches out to them.
Universal Children’s Day is coming up on November 20. This is a good time to think about kids in trouble, especially those threatened by blindness and low vision. Did you know that every minute, a child goes blind somewhere in the world?
In 1954, the United Nations created Universal Children’s Day, knowing that the youngest are often most at risk. Today, the day is celebrated all over the world to promote international improvement of children’s welfare.
Operation Eyesight is deeply concerned about the welfare of children. Our program partners work directly with children and their mothers to improve the conditions that promote eye health. In India, all of our partner hospitals now run optical shops and pharmacies in conjunction with the eye units. We also support immunization programs, nutrition classes, eye screenings and access to job training. Among our African partners, this same vision is becoming a reality.
Here’s an idea. If you’d like to reach out to a child right now, see if you have a spare $20. That will purchase an eye exam and brand new custom-fitted eyeglasses for three children in Africa or India (yes, you read that right – three individual pairs of glasses). Our online Gift Guide has details about this, along with other ways to help kids in need. Have a look, and thanks for thinking about the children.