Nepal's population of 13,200 blind and 39,600 visually impaired children is growing at a rate of seven youngsters daily.
Poverty and lack of medical facilities are robbing these kids of the chance to go to school like other boys and girls. Horrifyingly, World Health Organization figures show that 60% of blind children in poorer countries like Nepal are likely to die within a year of losing their vision.
To resolve this serious problem, ORBIS established a Nepal Kids Sight Centre Network in July, 2010. During its five and a half year lifespan, the nationwide network will build seven children's eye-care centers, 21 children's eye-care sub-units and an eye-care training facility. Ultimately, the US$3,000,000 program should help 1,200,000 Nepalese children escape the tragedy of blindness.
Last year, ORBIS also set up a Himalayan Kids Sight Centre in Nepal that has already provided treatment that has saved or restored the sight of many, many youngsters.
"Now my son can even see the ants on the floor"
A four-year-old boy who used to suffer from cataracts in both eyes, Nischal lives with his Mum while his Dad works overseas to support the family. When Nischal was just six-month old, his right eye was hurt and his sight deteriorated until he could not even make out pictures in storybooks. When nurses finally removed the bandages after the operation that restored his sight, the boy smiled happily. Looking at Nischal's bright, healthy eyes, his Mum said "now my son can even see the ants on the floor!"
Early discovery by a teacher saved his eyes
Apart from assisting Nepal in building its eye-care infrastructure, ORBIS has also educated many eye-care professionals and teachers in the early discovery of visual impairments among school kids. When six-year-old Yubraji's teacher found the boy could not see the classroom blackboard clearly, he recommended the boy's Mum take her son to the Himalayan Kids Sight Centre for a check-up. After being diagnosed with congenital cataracts, undergoing surgery and wearing glasses, Yubraji no longer has any difficulty in studying.
Two siblings dream of their future
16-year-old Sharmila and eight-year-old Naveen live with their family in a remote area with few decent roads. If one of the pair falls sick, it takes three and half hours to reach the nearest hospital. Fortunately, ORBIS diagnosed both of them as having poor vision during a rural check-up and helped them to apply for the subsidized surgery which restored their sight. Naveen who loves mathematics wants to grow up to be an aircraft engineer while gentle Sharmila dreams of becoming a teacher and caring for underprivileged kids.
These are just a few of the luckier of Nepal's 52,800 visually impaired children. Less fortunate youngsters who live in total or almost total darkness are still crying out for your help. So please help ensure a brighter future for kids with little access to eye-care resources by supporting ORBIS' sight-saving initiative!