National Nonprofit Day
Nonprofit Day is celebrated each year on August 17, to recognize the work of nonprofit organizations, the unsung heroes supporting our communities. Today we highlight three nonprofits from around the world who are committed to supporting those who are blind or experiencing vision loss. Not only do we want to celebrate their excellent work, but we want to spread the word and share what they do with as many people as possible. Here are three very different organizations, improving lives of those who are blind and low vision, in their own way.
Vision Care is an international relief organization that works to prevent blindness through its projects around the globe. So many people live with blindness that can be prevented or cured, but their location, living conditions or lack of education means they may not realize this, or they may not have access to the care they need. Vision Care gives these individuals access to care and treatment, by setting up eye camps, glass sharing initiatives, and training and support for ophthalmic hospitals in developing countries.
Patients are treated at short-term eye camps and long-term base clinics, made possible by doctors, missionaries, volunteers, and sponsors working together. They work collaboratively with other missions organizations, governments, NGOs and hospitals to reach the people who need their support.
Vision Care’s values provide a strong, clear path for their work. For example, they don’t believe in ‘one-time giving’. Instead, they believe in continued support that leads to the handing over of care to local doctors, once training has been provided and completed. They also insist on absolute professionalism and providing an excellent standard of care. They are mindful of how they conduct their work, so the support they provide is tailored to the needs of each mission and in line with local customs. The Vision Care professionals believe in working with the local doctors on treatment and care, and to strengthen local resources.
Vision Care conducts more than 25 Vision Eye Camps a year and treats patients in 38 countries throughout Asia, Africa and Central-South America. The team work tirelessly, for the benefit of all people throughout the world who are suffering from vision problems, regardless of their race, color, creed, national origin or religion. Visit the Vision Care website for more information about this organization.
San Diego Eye Bank
The San Diego Eye Bank has been working hard for more than 60 years to prevent blindness. Today, it is the largest eye bank in California and one of the leading eye banks in the United States.
Donors and their families make it possible for San Diego Eye Bank to provide donated corneal, scleral, and other ocular tissues to those in need of sight restoration and preservation. Corneal transplants are well researched and one of the safest and most successful transplant procedures available.
Since its establishment, San Diego Eye Bank has made this sight-saving procedure possible more than 100,000 times, both within the United States and around the world.
The eye bank receives more than 1500 donations each year, which is fantastic, however, there are always more people who are waiting for corneal transplants, so even more donations would bring the life-changing surgery closer to more people who need it. Find out more at the San Diego Eye Bank website.
The Ebeneezer School in Hong Kong provides a positive learning environment for children who are blind or visually impaired. They strive to create a cheerful happy space, where children are encouraged to enjoy the process of learning and realize their potential. As well as traditionally academic subjects, students also learn about music, the arts and culture. Skills such as sociability and diligence are nurtured, and staying healthy and active is prioritized. In terms of rehabilitation, students learn how to use orientation and mobility techniques, independent living skills and assistive technology to improve daily life.
Staff at the school believe in equipping children with the skills and emotional strength they need, to build a life they choose as adults, so they can feel engaged, fulfilled and part of the community around them. They also believe in tailoring teaching to suit visual ability and learning styles. In 2020, the professionals who make up the team at The Ebeneezer School demonstrated their commitment to the students using creative new ways to provide support. From preschool teachers to occupational therapists, they all found ways to connect with their students remotely, ensuring continued education and support throughout the pandemic.
Time and again we hear stories of individuals who are experiencing vision loss, where denial and delay prevent them from learning the skills they need to work effectively with their level of vision. For more than 125 years, the Ebeneezer school has been giving blind and visually impaired children the skills and resilience they need to navigate their future in our sighted world. In fact, the theme for their recent anniversary celebrations was The Future is Ours.’ We are excited to see how this generation of graduates use the modern day skills they learn here, to cultivate their own futures and how their futures shape the society of tomorrow. Information about the Ebeneezer School can be found on their website. https://www.ebenezer.org.hk/eshvi-en
We really believe in the extraordinary work of these organizations and love sharing their missions with our community. We hope that on this nonprofit day we can all take a moment to think about all the people who give their time, knowledge and support to improve the lives of others and thank them for all that they do.