Situated in Western India lies Ahmedabad. The city is the largest city of the Indian state of Gujarat and is the 5th most populated city in the country. While poverty levels across India remain high, Ahmedabad has been relatively successful in their efforts to reduce poverty and improve the living conditions of its residents. From 1994 to 2011, the urban poverty rate declined from 28% to 10%. Despite the decline in overall urban poverty, many residents still lack their most basic needs. Only 66% of the population resides in formal housing, while the other 34% live in slums or chawls. Nearly 700 different slum settlements call Ahmedabad home – a small chunk of which is run by the local government.
Amid the challenging environment that many in this community face, lie individuals filled with joy, strength and hope. Empowering organizations such as Manav Sadhna work to uplift their neighbors, improving the lives of locals living in marginalized communities. Backed by love and Gandhiji’s teachings, the organization is engaged in constructive humanitarian projects that cut across barriers of class and religion while addressing issues faced by socio-economically neglected segments of society. In an effort to bring vision care access to those residing in this Ahmedabad, OneSight partnered with Manav Sadhna to provide underserved communities with vision screenings and eyewear.
From December 2 – 14, OneSight organized a clinic with the help of 56 volunteers from 15 different countries, dozens of local translators and members of Manav Sadhna to serve thousands of local people in need. Our efforts served children and adults alike, with an overall ophthalmological need of 80%. In just 10 days of clinic, our team was able to screen 5,186 patients, surpassing our goal of 5,000.
The days of this clinic were long and challenging, with most days lasting 10 hours or more. Team members were met with many emotional and humbling moments throughout the experience, with tear-jerking stories like Rantanben’s reminding us all what our hard work is for. In the words of OneSight volunteer doctor Jessica Ward, “Our patients have used blur to interpret the world around them.” Now they don’t have to.
This clinic marked the last of our charitable efforts for 2019, and it most certainly was a powerful way to round out the end of an impactful year. As we begin to look ahead at our 2020 plans, we’re reminded of the successes and failures that we celebrated in this past year. The stories that were shared with us throughout each clinic, screening and milestone. The individuals whose lives were brought into ours in India – and in 2019 as a whole – will not be forgotten.
Thank you for making 2019 such an impactful and inspiring year! Your support makes all that we do possible. Help support our future efforts by donating $10 to provide a pair of glasses to someone in need and see where we’re headed next in 2020.