Over 100,000 people participated across the country blindfolded to express solidarity with the visually challenged people in a program called BlindWalk. It started in Kolkata at Loreto School Campus Entally at 9.30 am on October 12, The World Sight Day which saw over 100 students participate. BlindWalk is the brain child of Project Vision, an organisation based in Bangalore who has found a very novel way to celebrate the World Sight Day.
The striking experience of BlindWalk was that the normal blindfolded people were led by visually challenged people. The participants were holding on to the blind person in the front after being blindfolded, depending on him/her to walk. This experience was very special and life changing that gives a glimpse into their ‘dark world’.
BlindWalk was conducted in 200+ locations across India and abroad on October 12th, Thursday this year. Apart from US, China, Srilanka and Nepal, the Walk was connected across the length and breadth of India, coordinated by Project Vision with a multitude of social, educational, religious, health, corporate and cultural organisations.
The most important objective of the BlindWalk is to motivate people to donate their eyes. The second objective of BlindWalk is to create Vision Ambassadors. Despite interest in donating eyes and having pledges done, most people are not able to take the steps for actual donation, when a death happens in their family due to emotional reasons. And the third objective is to have easy systems for eye collection. The program connects the Eye Banks to the community, making their services and contacts available to everyone.
National Association for the Blind, Eye Bank Association of India, Art of Living, 104 Arokiavani, Rotary and Rotaract, National Service Scheme, Catholic Health Association of India, CBCI – CARD and Madura Microfinance Limited are some of the national agencies that are part of organising the BlindWalk. While The Muthoot Group is the main corporate support, Alcon, Essilor, CBM, and a host of local sponsors are supporting this social cause.
About Project Vision:
The Project Vision was founded by Fr. George Kannanthanam, Catholic Priest (Claretian) and Social Worker. He has been involved with various social programs for the marginalised groups for about 30 years. He founded the HOPE Society in 1988 for alcoholics and drug addicts. He lived with the leprosy affected persons at SUMANAHALLI for 12 years. He initiated SUPPORT centres in Bengaluru and Belgaum for HIV affected persons. His disaster management initiatives for people affected by tsunami and the Nepal earthquake have been appreciated by all concerned. With a Masters in Social Work and Doctorate in Sociology, Fr George has written the book titled, THE EMPTY NEST, on the rehabilitation model for leprosy-affected people.He was conferred National Award by the Government of India, which he received in 2003 from the President of India, Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. He is also the recipient of the Mother Teresa Award for Selfless Service in 2012 and the Best Citizen of Bengaluru Award from Namma Bengaluru Foundation in 2013. Fr. George dreams of a world where everybody can see.