A recent visit to my son’s optician opened my eyes about the eyesight problems that begin to appear at a nascent age and grow exponentially. He also threw in recent facts and figures that around 20% children in India in the age group of 5–12 years have poor vision. The risk of a child collapsing into the ‘poor vision’ criteria could be anything from undernourishment to excessive electronic devices. Chronic dry eyes, negative impact on co-ordination of vision and motor skills, and problems shifting their vision from near to far are early alarming signs.
Now coming from an educated and privileged part of the society, I am thankful to look at these problems closely, get professional help and make people around me aware of these pinching problems. But what about children who belong to the economically restricted class? A large population in our country is visually impaired only because they do not have access to an eye examination and a pair of glasses. This is a bigger concern in underprivileged children as they are ignorant or economically constrained from getting the right treatment even after diagnosis. Undetected vision disorders obviously result into devastating academic, economic and psychological problems in these children.
Is there a way these children from low income communities have access to free eye exams and glasses for a better future?
For sometime, I have been following ICICI Lombard’s contribution in eyesight care for the under privileged children and wanted to share their efforts on a wider platform. To ensure a brighter future to children and avoid further deterioration of eyesight, ICICI Lombard has been heading a unique CSR initiative ‘Caring Hands’ for the last seven years. The project specifically aims at eye care for children because this is a critical and fast-spreading issue in Indian youth. Under its wing, 140,000 children from over 300 schools across the country have been reached and treated till date. And with a giant corporate such as ICICI promoting the treatment of this, it is only expected to spread like a fire.
The genuine efforts from ICICI’s employees take care of every aspect of the project; right from seeking permissions from school to roping in the opticians, planning and conducting the camps smoothly. Every employee pays personal attention in support of the project; distribution of free spectacles to underprivileged children is one such initiative and almost 20,000 freebies will be distributed today. In fact, the support for the project is so overwhelming that every year more than 50% of the growing employee base is involved, making it a genuinely employee-driven CSR initiative.
If you weren’t already convinced that prolonged screen-time can be a problem of kids, this initiative speaks volumes of the ill effects. Let’s hope such initiatives by corporate sectors help in spreading the awareness tenfold times and reduce the ill-effects.
The 8th edition of ‘Caring Hands’ was held on Friday, 14th December this year.
I am particularly honoured to be a part of this noble project to spread the good word. This initiative is a help towards the basis of our foundation, the children that are a hope for a better tomorrow.
To find out more about #CaringHands2018, you can visit:
PS – This article has been written in collaboration with ICICI Lombard.