Thank you!

Your gift is helping transform entire communities with the gift of sight. With help from compassionate people like you, we are able to ensure that entire populations are given ongoing access to eye health care. We do this through our Community Outreach Program, where we train community health workers to go door-to-door in their communities to screen every single person in the community for eye health issues and refer them for treatment. Watch this helpful animated video about Shabnam’s work in her community!

 

Shabnam’s story

If you’re lucky, you chose what you wanted to study and what career interested you most.

But what would it be like to live your life thinking that your future had been decided for you?

Shabnam is a 32-year-old woman who lives with her husband and three children in Bhopal, India. She comes from a traditional Muslim family where it is frowned upon for women to work outside the home.

In  spring 2014, Operation Eyesight was holding interviews for community health workers, looking to hire local people to be trained to go door-to-door in the community and identify eye health issues, make an initial diagnosis and refer patients for treatment.

One of Shabnam’s relatives heard about the position and encouraged her to apply, but Shabnam had lived her whole life with the understanding that as a woman, she was not meant to work outside the home. She regretfully decided this opportunity wasn’t for her.

However, that was not the last Shabnam heard of the job. One of her close friends had also heard about the position and decided to apply. Inspired by her friend’s enthusiasm, Shabnam had a change of heart. Armed with a new determination, she bravely sought her family’s support.

It wasn’t easy for Shabnam to convince her family that she should apply. At first, they refused without a thought, but she wasn’t going to give up the chance to make a difference.

After much persuasion, her family finally agreed.

Then Shabnam’s life changed! She attended the interview, and she was selected to become a health worker!

Indian community health worker trained by Operation Eyesight educates her community about eye health and general wellness
Shabnam (holding poster) spends a lot of her time educating her community about health and wellness.

And that was just the beginning! Little did Shabnam know just what contributions she was about to make to the community as a health worker. She would be educating the community not only on the importance of eye health, but on the importance of sanitation, nutrition and more!

Since 2014, Shabnam has been working hard for her community. Her dream is to eliminate avoidable blindness from her area – a daunting task to most, but not to Shabnam. She has diligently gone door-to-door to survey everyone in her community about their eye health. After years of tireless work, most people in her community have been referred to eye care and/or have undergone treatment to correct vision problems.

Indian community health worker tests a woman's visual acuity in her community
Shabnam performs an eyesight test on a local woman in her community.

Just a few blind patients remain because they are too afraid to seek treatment. But Shabnam has not given up on helping them. By involving religious leaders in the community who support Operation Eyesight’s efforts, Shabnam has already succeeded in convincing one patient to undergo treatment. Just think, soon Shabnam’s community could be avoidable blindness-free!

Shabnam has been working with Aman Advanced Eye Care ever since she was hired as a health worker, and during that time she has built strong relationships with government organizations and the people in her community.

Imagine! So much good is being done by one strong woman whose mission it is to help the people around her. And this is all made possible with the support of people like you! Because of your generous donations, Shabnam was offered an opportunity she never dreamed she’d have, and her community is receiving the eye health education and eye care it needs. Her work is not done, and thanks to you she can continue to work to change lives. 

Thank you so much for helping transform the lives of entire communities by giving them access to the eye health care they desperately need!

Operation Eyesight's Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program addresses avoidable blindness at the community level
Shabnam with other community health workers, are all working hard to educate their communities to eliminate avoidable blindness!
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