The warm glow of a diya means different things to different people, across faiths and traditions.
Whether it’s time to connect with family and friends, or a celebration of prosperity, knowledge and wisdom, Diwali is also a reminder to be a light for others this holiday season.
For six-year-old Misba from West Bengal, vision loss was quickly extinguishing her own light. Her father Mahabul and mother Ruku say their usually happy daughter often became irritated during play and at school, and she was unable to read a book without great difficulty.
Sadly, financial hardship prevented her parents from seeking help for their daughter.
When an Operation Eyesight Universal health worker knocked on the family’s door, it was a turning point in the little girl’s life. After screening Misba’s eyes, the health worker diagnosed Misba with myopia – better known as near-sightedness. She was referred to our local vision centre and to our partner Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital, where she received an eye exam and a pair of corrective spectacles.
With her vision restored, Misba has returned to her happy and active self. Her parents say they are relieved to see their daughter smiling and able to continue her studies.
They say they are grateful for the care she received at their local vision centre and for the health worker doing door-to-door eye health screening in their community.
For children like Misba, the lights of Diwali have taken on a whole new meaning.
Vision loss: a nation-wide problem
Today, India is home to 21 per cent of the world’s blind population at 22 per cent of the those with visual impairment globally. While 90 per cent of vision loss is preventable, tragically many people country-wide are unable to seek care due to geographic and financial limitations.
For nearly 60 years, Operation Eyesight has been partnering with India’s communities to bring the gift of sight to those who need it most. Today, we are working with communities across 17 states. With the help of our 35 partner hospitals and 145 local vision centres, we are declaring entire villages free of avoidable blindness, preventing vision loss and helping children like Misba thrive.
Together, we are making avoidable blindness a thing of the past in India.
“Whether it’s a simple pair of spectacles or a more complex eye surgery, we believe everyone has the right to affordable, quality eye health services,” explains Dr. Troy Cunningham, Operation Eyesight’s Country Director in India.
For a child, restored vision means a chance to go to school, play and make friends. For a parent, it’s a chance to provide and care for their family. For senior citizens, the gift of sight means independence and staying connected to their communities.
How do we do it? Across the country, we are training health workers in their own communities, offering free door-to-door screenings and opening local vision centres.
“All of this is possible thanks to the generous support of our donors and partners,” Dr. Cunningham adds. “When you make a donation to Operation Eyesight, you are helping us bring quality, accessible and affordable eye care to people’s doorsteps.”
This Diwali, please bring the light of sight to someone in need and join us in our mission to prevent blindness and restore sight – For All The World To See.