BLINDWALK 2019 - Largest Eye Donation campaign in the World

World BlindWalk 2019 organised by Project Vision on 10th October, World Sight Day in 227 locations across five countries was participated by about 100,000 people. Bangalore BlindWalk startd at 4 pm from St Josephs School, Museum road and ended at Samsung Opera, Brigade Rd around 6 pm.

Mr Shalav Modi, Country General Manager, Alcon India, a global leader in eye care flagged off the BlindWalk at St Joseph’s School, Museum road, at 4. 30 pm. The BlindWalk ended with a pledge by all participants to donate their eyes, led by Mr Basavaraj, Commissioner for disabilities, Government of Karnataka. 

The 300 strong  BlindWalk was coordinated by Project Vision with non governmental organisations and institutions like Samarthanam, Rotary Abilities, St Joseph’s College, YsMen International, AIFO, Vincent De Paul Society and so on. It was supported by corporates like Alcon, Essilor, Samsung, Titan and Makki Lifestyle Corporation. 

The sixth edition of BlindWalk was conducted to focus attention on the issues of the visually challenged persons and to promote eye donation. This is particularly relevant for India since it has 15 million blind persons - accounting for worlds one third blind population, as per WHO. Three million of these visually challenged persons could see again through eye donation. But only 68409 person donated their eyes last year despite nine million deaths as per National Program for the Control of Blindness(NPCB). The number persons who donated eyes in Karnataka was only 5561. Whereas neighbouring Tamil Nadu had almost double than this - 10504, topping the national list. 

BlindWalk is a novel idea developed by Project Vision to express solidarity with the visually challenged people with the caption ‘Feel Being Blind’. Through this experience people are motivated to donate their eyes. Conducted in Canada, China, Philippines, Srilanka and India, it the largest eye donation campaign in the world and is part of the eye donation movement started by Project Vision. 

The specialty of BlindWalk is that it blindfolds sighted people and takes them on a Walk in public place. Started with the first BlindWalk on the M G Road in Bangalore in 2014, about 750 BlindWalks have been conducted so far in various and settings like educational institutions, companies and public places. The most touching aspect of the BlindWalk is that it is led by visually challenged people. While they walk in the front with their white canes, the blindfolded participants hold on to them to find their way. 

The second objective is to create Vision Ambassadors. Despite having pledges done, most people are not able to take the steps for actual donation, when a death happens in their family. The answer is to have Vision Ambassadors in every community, who will do the coordination with the diseased family and the Eye Bank. Third objective is to break the myths surrounding eye donations. Anyone can donate their eyes. There is no age limit for eye donations. People with any diseases can also donate their eyes. The face will not be disfigured due to eye donation, which can be done at home itself through a simple operation.

Those who cannot join of the BlindWalk were given an opportunity to pledge to donate their eyes through an sms pledge. The format is TPV <space>Your Name<space> Place and send it to 7039670396. You will get a return sms with instructions. For eye donation in Karnataka, the number for coordination is 104 or contact eye banks directly or Project Vision (9448071973. 

The Project Vision was founded by Fr. George Kannanthanam, Catholic Priest and Social Worker. Find details in www.theprojectvision.org 


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