High recognition for the outstanding basic vision care efforts of 2.5 New Vision Generation in rural India to empower rural youth to screen for poor vision
Delhi, 19 December 2016: Vision care leader Essilor International has won the ‘Transforming Society’ award (tve) at the 5th Global Sustainability Film Awards held at BAFTA’s Princess Anne Theatre in London’s Piccadilly on November 28th 2016. The tve Global Sustainability Film Awards honours companies who are committed to environmental and social change, awarding films that are ‘creative, deeply moving and inspiring’.
Essilor International’s 3-minute award-winning film “Eye Mitra: Friends Of the Eyes” tells the inspiring story of its Eye Mitra programme through the ‘eyes’ of Satyapal Kushwah, an Eye Mitra optician, who has set up his own optical shop in his village. It is through the training of local underemployed youth such as Satyapal that the Eye Mitra programme has brought quality basic vision care to remote regions of India. This powerful video depicts how a simple vision care programme impacts a community in a real and sustainable way, through skill-building, job creation and improving individual productivity and well-being.
The initiative has covered a total of 13 Indian states so far and enabled the screening of more than 1,600,000 people, of which a record 550,000 have now been equipped with spectacles. These people would otherwise have to travel to far off cities for basic vision care interventions or would have never availed these services.
Mr. Saugata Banerjee – Vice President, 2.5 NVG, SouthAsia & South East Asia said, “It gives us immense joy to see our Eye Mitra programme bringing vision care to rural India, while also contributing to the economic development of villages, by creating a sustainable livelihood for local young unemployed youth. Our ambition is to grow this network to 10,000 Eye Mitra Opticians by 2020 to bring the quality of life that people in rural India so deserve.”
India is home to an estimated 550 million people suffering from uncorrected refractive errors and in need of appropriate intervention by spectacle correction. While most of these people reside in rural or semi-urban parts of India, most optical care delivery centres are concentrated in the bigger towns and cities. With only one qualified optometrist for every 250,000 people in rural India, remote regions of the country suffer from a critical shortage of eye-care experts.
Essilor International’s Eye Mitra programme is being implemented with the help of vocational training institutes who have partnered with the Indian Government’s National Skill Development Corporation. These training partners identify rural youth and empower them to set up very small optical outlets. The training is imparted by qualified optometrists under the Government of India guidelines for conducting basic vision screening.