The largest eye donation campaign in the world was conducted in connection with the World Sight Day on October 13 through a very innovative program called World Blind Walk organised in 55 locations across five countries by a Bangalore based non-government initiative called Project Vision. The Walk was conducted in US, China, Srilanka and Nepal apart from all major cities in India. About 5000 visually challenged people led 25,000 people in a blind folded Walk that ended with a pledge to donate eyes and help the cause of the visually challenged people across the World.
Cabinet Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thamar Chand Gehlot blindfolded himself to express his solidarity with the visually challenged persons and pledged to donate his eyes in the program in the BlindWalk in the capital city of India, New Delhi. Leaders from various religions promised promote the concept of eye donation through their religions. Col. Kaul, recipient of Vir Chakra award, led the group in the pledge. Mr Santhosh Rungta, Secretary General of National Federation of the Blind, presented a memorandum to the government to make 104 as a common number for the whole country for eye donation.
Implementing the theme of this year World Sight Day by International Association for the Prevention of Blindness, Stronger Together, World Blind Walk brought together over 500 organisations across the globe from social, developmental, medical, academic and religious backgrounds on a single platform to push for a global movement on eye donations. National Federation of the Blind, Eye Bank Association of India, Art of Living, Catholic Hospital Association of India and 104 Health line of government are national partners of the program. Chetanalaya was the organiser of the Delhi Blind Walk along with several other organisations.
The concept of Blind Walk was developed by Project Vision through which sighted persons are given an opportunity to experience what blindness is through a one kilometre blindfolded Walk in a public place, led by visually challenged persons. The theme of the Walk was ‘Feel being blind. Donate your eyes.’The objective of World Blind Walk is to create Vision Ambassadors, who would coordinate between the bereaved family and the eye bank in the event of death of anyone in their neighbourhood or contacts. Corneal blindness can be eliminated by developing Vision Ambassadors in the community. World Blind Walk will develop 25,000 Vision Ambassadors.
The media response to the event was very positive. Some of the media links are given here.