SightSaversIndia: Working towards preventing avoidable Blindness

SightSaversIndia: Working towards preventing avoidable Blindness

In Rajasthan, Sightsavers presence is in 13 districts and is working extensively to ensure that the prevalence of blindness is reduced to 0.3 percent in the state.

World Vison Day, World Sight Day,. SightsaversIndia
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 : Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand are the states covered by SightSaversIndia in the last 55 years...

Sightsavers India, a development organization has been working to eliminate avoidable blindness since 1966, with the goal of ensuring that no one goes blind unnecessarily and that people with disabilities live a life of dignity and respect in society. Sightsavers has presented a well-thought-out and implemented strategy plan for the years 2021 to 2025. The organization has been working in India for 55 years, focusing on eight states: Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand.

In Rajasthan, Sightsavers presence is in 13 districts and is working extensively to ensure that the prevalence of blindness is reduced to 0.3 percent in the state. Currently, the prevalence of blindness in the state is 2.69% as per National Blindness & Visual Impairment Survey India 2015-2019: A Summary Report by Dr R.P. Centre for Ophthalmic Science.

Sightsavers has launched a host of programmes in Rajasthan, focusing on eye health, social inclusion, and inclusive education. The Rural Eye Health Programme is implemented by Sightsavers in 11 districts of Rajasthan: Dungarpur, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Pratapgarh, Sirohi, Jalore, Alwar, Tonk, Sikar, Sriganganagar and Hanumangarh. Approximately 1.4 million people have been screened as part of the initiative by Sightsavers in the year 2021. Urban Eye Health Programme of Sightsavers is implemented in the marginalized communities living in the slum areas of Jaipur urban. Through the programme Sightsavers reaches out to more than 250 slums by conducting eye camps and setting up of vision centres that caters to the eye health needs of the people.

As per Census 2011, there are 15.63 lakh people with disabilities in the state of Rajasthan. In the districts of Jhalawar and Udaipur, Sightsavers has implemented its Inclusive Education Programme for children with visual impairment. Sightsavers' Social Inclusion Program, which focuses on promoting social security and livelihood generation, strengthening Organizations of Persons with Disabilities (OPD), and creating an enabling environment for their improved participation in society and the economy, was implemented in Dungarpur in 2021. The National Truckers Eye Health Programme, popularly known as RAAHI, has been operating in Kishangarh and Udaipur since 2019 which caters to the huge population of truck drivers who need good quality eye health services which is provided to them through this programme.

Inclusive Education Programme in Rajasthan for low vision & Blind Students

Sightsavers in Rajasthan has more than 10 years of association with erstwhile Samgra Shiksha Abhiyan for mainstreaming the Children with Visual Impaired (CVIs), contributing to the quality of inclusive education component for the CVIs under the SSA – Rajasthan. Sightsavers in collaboration with SSA – Rajasthan has undertaken several initiatives which has significantly contributed in strengthening the inclusive education components. Following are some highlights:

  • Low Vision Assessment: Sightsavers in the past had extended technical support to the government in undertaking the Low Assessment of the CVIs, provisions of Low Vision devices and facilitation of corrective surgeries to restore the eyesight. This significantly helped the government and the activity was later integrated into the SSA – Rajasthan and now is a regular activity which is undertaken across all districts of Rajasthan.
  • Creation of Master Trainers: Sightsavers in collaboration with SSA has created Master Trainers on Plus Curriculums, ICT for CVIs and Exemplar Modules which has made the state resourceful and trainers are available for training the General Teachers and Block level Resource persons on the above subject.
  • Conversion of Textbooks into Accessible Format: In 2017 Sightsavers support the GoR and facilitated conversion of the textbooks of Rajasthan into accessible format which can be accessed efficiently by Children with Visual Impairment using mobiles and laptops. Sightsavers in 2017 converted the textbooks in accessible format of E-Pub/Unicode. As a result, Rajasthan is a pioneer state in conversion of the textbooks in accessible format using Unicode.
  • Strengthening capacity of the SCERT – Udaipur: As a next step the Sightsavers further took steps and equipped SCERT with 04 high end desktops with InDesign Software which is used to develop access textbooks and so far has conducted two trainings of the staff of SCERT on textbook conversion so that the state is capacitated to develop all its textbooks in accessible formats.
  • Conversion of Resource Room: Conversion of one BRC into a ‘Digital Learning Resource Centre’: One BRC in districts of Udaipur and Jhalawar has been converted into a learning and training centre for both CVIs as well as teachers. In Udaipur the BRC is located in Government Fateh Senior Secondary school has been equipped with ICT devices, Braille Kit, Geometry set, Playing cards, Cricket balls, Alphabets and Number, Chess for CVIs.
  • Modules Development: Sightsavers developed modules on Curriculum adaptation and Plus Curriculum which is now used across the districts to train the teachers and KRPs in developing their skills.
  • Training of the CVIs on ICT: SSA – Rajasthan provisioned for 936 Mobiles, 323 laptops & 393 DAISY players to the CVIs across the state for which Sightsavers supported the cost of Resource Persons and supported the training on laptop and mobile for the identified CVIs in 2014 and 2022.
  • Provision of Mobile and Laptop as well as Training of the CVIs on ICT: Sightsavers in 2019 provisioned for 50 Mobiles and 05 laptops for CVIs of Jhalawar, successfully completed the training and currently extending support to the CVIs in continuing their learning with visits to schools. IN 2020 we have provisions for 70 Mobile phones and 5 Laptops to Children with Visual Impairment in Udaipur, successfully completed the training of 48 Mobile and 05 Laptops and In 2021 provisioned for 17 Mobiles and 04 laptops for CVIs of Udaipur and the training conducted successfully. In 2022 provisioned 19 Mobile and 02 Laptops for CVIs and conducted the training.  

On the occasion of World Sight day, Sightsavers in collaboration with its implementing partners is organizing eye camps and awareness activities across all 13 districts to raise awareness on cataract, refractive error and general care of eyes and conduct eye screening and diagnosis of thousands of people in the implementing districts. Sightsavers India has been running its programmes in India for decades in an attempt to make eye care accessible to even the most backward communities.

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