Delivering care to thousands of underserved people needs leadership, planning, and a healthy dose of improvisation when things don’t go as planned. Our programming team is full of people just like that and we sat down recently with Daniele Cangemi to find out what makes him tick.
What’s the focus of your role with OneSight?
My first priority is our patients at every charitable vision clinic I run—making sure they feel welcomed and are treated with quality care, professionalism, and with the utmost human respect and dignity. In my role as Senior Manager for Latin America Programming, my focus is on setting the vision and strategy for the region and then pioneering new and innovative approaches to efficiently and effectively implement that strategy.
How are you bringing clear sight to Latin America?
OneSight is working to bring care to the communities that need it most. Right now for me the focus is on two primary groups in the remote areas of the Amazon River basin in Brazil: the larger indigenous population and the smaller group of migrants workers drawn to the area in the early 1900s by jobs in the rubber plants. Now that those plants are defunct, there is little to no economic opportunity. There are 4 optometrists for 2.5 million people, and it can take several days to reach one. In 2018, I organized the first charitable clinic by boat. We visited several communities then and just returned in June 2019 to provide glasses to more people. This time we also brought a surgical boat to help those in need of pterygium surgery and eye conditions beyond refractive error. The plan is to expand this work to other communities along the river and to work toward more permanent and comprehensive healthcare over time.
Another exciting 2019 project related to our commitment of reaching people most in need of help is our Colombia clinic, in which we will hold a vision care clinic for refugees from Venezuela that are living in Colombia.
How much do you travel?
I would say between 50% and 70% of my time. I’m often doing preparatory clinic visits, meetings with government officials and partners, and then actually running clinics.
What’s your favorite travel hack?
Bring music (I have my favorite playlist in my phone, and every time I can, I put my headphones on and listen to it), travel light, be patient, and enjoy every single cultural aspect of your travel experience.
What keeps you inspired?
The fact that there is a need to change the world, spread awareness and mindfulness about the importance of caring for people generally and about the need to close the global vision care gap specifically. Together with partners and supporters, OneSight can do it, and I am part of this adventure. Seeing people happy inspires me to be a better person.
What did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I started to realize that I wanted to work internationally and be a citizen of the world when, in my last year of high school and first year of college, I started to be interested more and more in international relations, geopolitics, and travel adventures. I also always wanted to help people, so the combination of these dreams drove me towards the choice of being involved in the international humanitarian world, previously with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders and now with OneSight.
What patient stands out in your mind the most?
People like me and you. All of us with a need for a basic human right: access to vision care. Clear vision for our patients means a better future. It improves their quality of life in many different ways beyond their health. It impacts their ability to learn, to work and earn, to connect with others, to experience equality and empowerment, and to lift up their community.
Making global vision care access a reality takes passion, ambition and commitment from a team of individuals working hard every single day, all over the world. Meet the rest of our dream team.