Vision care for 10,000 less privileged school children in India

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IndiaCSR News Network

NEW DELHI: As part of its ongoing corporate social responsibility commitment to create lasting value across the economic, environmental, human and social dimensions, SABIC, a global petrochemicals leader, has undertaken a large-scale comprehensive eye-care programme covering screening, vision correction, treatment and surgical support, for government and government-aided schools in National Capital Region (NCR), India.

The program ‘They See, They Learn’ reached a milestone of screening and providing corrective support as prescribed to 10,000 children in the age group of 6 to 18 years.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Janardhanan Ramanujalu, Vice President, SABIC South Asia & ANZ, said, “SABIC’s CSR programme is focused on education with employees engaged in support of the activity. Vision and education have a direct correlation. Many children and parents from less privileged backgrounds are often not aware that their education is being hampered due to poor eyesight which is easily correctable.

Through our program, ‘They See, They Learn’ we seek to address this issue by offering screening, detection and treatment of vision-related problems through collaboration with Department of Education, Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi and Rotary. We are happy to have reached 10,000 less privileged children so far, and hope to reach another 10,000 children by December 2014. The fairly high rate of around 15 per cent of the children screened needing spectacles or further investigation goes to confirm that our initiative is of crucial importance to these children.”

“Our employees, who are the primary drivers of this initiative, are delighted with the response so far and the potential impact we are creating in the lives of the children who can now see well”, he added.

‘They See, They Learn’ is organized by SABIC in collaboration with Rotary International and is part of the ‘Nidarshan’ program of the Chacha Nehru Sehat Yojana (CNSY), under the School Health Scheme of the Government of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.

Dr. Adarsh Kumar, Additional Director (School Health Scheme), Government of NCT of Delhi, said, “The School Health Scheme aims to screen students regularly to ensure nutritional deficiencies and other health problems including refractive errors are identified and treated in time. We appreciate the support extended from SABIC and its partners in screening the students for refractive errors of East District under ‘Nidarshan’ Programme.”

Shri Sudarshan Agarwal, President, Rotary Eye Care Centre said, “Over 20 per cent children below 18 years in India require vision correction but are not aware that they do so. We are happy that SABIC has taken up  this issue and is helping Rotary District 3010  through Rotary Club of Indirapuram and Rotary Eye Care Centre Tughlakabad to advance the cause of Literacy and Health Care to needy children in schools in Delhi/NCR.”

Some 10 per cent of students have been identified for spectacles so far, while 5 per cent have been diagnosed with issues including testing with dilation and will be further referred as per guidelines set by Delhi Govt. Health Scheme, SABIC will work with these children and their parents on referring them to specialists and providing financial support for any treatment required.

The initiative has also been welcomed by school authorities whose students have participated in the exercise. School principals and teachers highlighted how they have observed poor vision hampering students’ academic performance, and thanked SABIC for its efforts towards addressing the issue.

‘They See, They Learn’ is the latest addition to SABIC’s ongoing corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities in India, spanning the areas of education, environment, healthcare and community development. SABIC’s various CSR activities include the restoration of Lake and sponsorship of a community hall in Hosahalli village near Bengaluru, Blood donation drive, tree plantation and education drives etc.

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