There are 39 million Blind people in the world. India has one third of the World's blind persons - 15 million. This shocking figure touched a few kind-hearted in India very deeply. They decided to do something. They started a Charity named The Project Vision with the vision, “Let everyone see”. About Fifty of them, under the leadership of Fr George Kannanthanam, a Claretian Missionary in India committed to two objectives:
• to make eye donation a norm in the society and
• to create opportunities for the permanently blind to live a descent life
Project Vision developed the concept of BLIND WALK and held the first ever BLIND WALK in Bangalore in three locations in 2014 for National eye donation fortnight. It was a great beginning with overwhelming response and impact.
Riding on this success story, Project Vision expanded the BLINDWALK to the global audience this year. Blindness is a global issue that needs a global response. Covering five countries, BLIND WALK carried the message of eye donation in 50 locations in United States, China, Sri Lanka, Nepal and India.
In Macau, under the leadership of Fr. Jojo Ancheril, the Blind Walk was organised on 14 October. Fr. Jijo, who joined the event had shared his reflections on his facebook page:
20 Minutes of Blindness
Researching on the neurological wiring of the visually impaired, I have grown closer to the condition of people who are not able to see. So, I needed no special ideological push to participate in the Blind Walk held for the first time in Macau under the aegis of Project Vision. I walked blindfolded for about 20 minutes holding on to the hand of a stranger who became a friend instantaneously. The neurological wiring of these people is amazing. The concentration that they are able to achieve in mind mapping the world around them with extreme accuracy should qualify them to join rocket engineering!
While walking blindfolded, I realized how suddenly my other senses began to be extra alert. My hands extended to feel the presence of persons, to pick up as much kinesthetic sensation as possible. My head started craning in the hope of catching as much light as possible. My face started twitching, not knowing how I was being looked at. I became irredeemably self-conscious. I had a feeling of being objectified! When the vision is lost…..how much they miss?
On the way back, I decided to walk back the same route that I had walked blindfolded. I suddenly realized that my mind had picked up a sense of the geography of the place without my knowing. I moved along the crossroads and byways intuitively. (I am otherwise geography-illiterate and prone to miss a road unless I have passed through it half a dozen times).
At the end of the day, I feel, sharing blindness makes one a richer person as long as one has the option to see again. You can dramatically say that ‘the world that can be seen is beautiful. The one that cannot be seen is even more beautiful’. I said it. But I regret saying it. If I loose my sight forever, I do not think I can hold the same view again……
People need to see…. Everyone needs to see… What use is it to go to heaven with your both eyes when they can be still of use for people walking the treacherous paths of the earth?
My eyes are pledged… I think, I have the privilege of having eyes on earth, I can do the next life without them. Let them go to someone who can see….