February highlights: updates from around the world

February 2018
Women line up on the start line of the Raipur running event.
The Raipur Going Pink event welcomed a group of disabled athletes.

India: Raipur

Sightsavers helps women with disabilities take part in Going Pink race

A group of 50 women with disabilities took part in the first Raipur Going Pink running event, which aims to encourage women to adopt healthier lifestyles.

The event saw more than 1,500 women running either 3km, 10km or 21km through Raipur’s Central Park, and marked the first time in India that women with disabilities have been encouraged to take part in an event of this type. Sightsavers’ social inclusion programme worked with Indian non-profit organisation Samerth Charitable Trust to support the athletes with disabilities, including 16 women with physical impairments, 12 with hearing impairments and one with low vision.

The event was part of the wider Pinkathon initiative, which organises regular women-only marathons in India to promote women’s health.

Actor and sportsman Milind Soman, who founded Pinkathon, said: “Sightsavers and Samerth brought women with disabilities to this event, which is outstanding. The idea of social inclusion in this way is amazing – this kind of effort should be taken ahead.” More from India

A man using a smartphone.
IT training has encouraged Rajesh to continue his education in India.

India: Madhya Pradesh

IT training helps a blind teenager return to school

Sightsavers’ inclusive education programme in Madhya Pradesh, central India, has helped 19-year-old Rajesh to continue his education by teaching him about IT and how to use a smartphone.

Rajesh had always been keen to learn about technology, but had dropped out of school after struggling in class, and said he had no interest in continuing his studies. The inclusive education team arranged for him to take part in IT training, and he enjoyed the sessions so much that he also enrolled on the smartphone course.

Rajesh started to use his phone for making calls and voice recording, as well as reading news on Google. His approach to education changed: he started researching schools for blind students in the local area, and applied for a place at three of the schools. More from India


Eye screening for children with disabilities

Singida school in central Tanzania is a pioneering school for inclusive education: 72 of the students – one in 10 – have physical or learning disabilities. Yet staff are aware that the children often have undiagnosed visual impairments or eye diseases, and they are unable to attend the eye screenings that often take place in inaccessible towns far from their homes.

To combat the problem, an eye screening session was organised at the school, with a local optometrist taking over one of the classrooms to carry out eye examinations. He found that several of the children had refractive error or infectious eye conditions, and was able to refer them for treatment.

The screening was organised as part of the Maono Singida sustainable eye care project, which aims to offer eye health treatment in local communities so everyone has a chance to get the help they need. More from Tanzania

Olivia with her youngest son.
Olivia can now see her youngest children for the first time.


A young mother’s sight is restored

Olivia is 21 years old and has three children, the youngest just eight months old. But she’s never seen her youngest children’s faces – she’s been blind since 2012 because of cataracts.

Olivia first sought medical help in 2011, when her sight started to fail, but she couldn’t afford to pay for surgery. Thankfully, she was offered treatment through Sightsavers’ Nampula Eye Care Programme, which offers outreach campaigns, trains eye health staff and supports cataract surgery for those who can’t afford it.

After her operation, Olivia needed special aftercare because she was still breastfeeding her youngest son, so couldn’t take the same medication as the other patients. The doctors invited her back to the hospital the following week for a check-up to make sure she was recovering, and were happy to report that her sight had improved significantly. More from Mozambique

The Nandini group.
Members of the Nandini self-help group with their new chicks.

India: Madhya Pradesh

Inclusive self-help group launches a poultry business

An innovative approach to making money has helped members of a self-help group in Madhya Pradesh to launch their own business.

The Nandini self-help group was formed with the help of Sightsavers’ social inclusion programme, working alongside Indian organisation Dalit Sangh, which aims to empower low-income communities. The 13 members of the group started saving small amounts of money, but wanted to find a way to increase their income. Many of the group had a background in poultry farming, so Dalit Sangh advised them to undertake further training to strengthen their skills.

The group applied to the National Rural Livelihood Mission and received funding of 12,000 rupees (£133/ €149), which enabled them to buy their first batch of 260 chicks. They are now encouraging other villagers to follow a similar path and buy chicks from the group, which helps to generate more income. More from India

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More stories from the field

Four patients wait while socially distancing for their trauchoma surgery while wearing PPE and face masks.
Sightsavers from the field

Eye care and COVID-19: what we’ve learned during the pandemic

Throughout the pandemic, our priority has been to restart our work quickly and safely. Sightsavers staff reveal our how eye care programmes have evolved in the past 18 months.

October 2021
Safia has her eyes examined by a health worker to check for signs of trachoma.
Sightsavers from the field

Seeing clearly: five sight-saving stories in Benin

The Accelerate programme, supported by Sightsavers, aims to stop people going blind from trachoma. In Benin, five patients reveal how the programme has changed their lives.

September 2021
A group of young children playing on a climbing frame outside a school
Sightsavers from the field

Education, not discrimination: Malawi’s inclusive pre-schools

An inclusive education project in Malawi is challenging stigma and changing lives by enabling young children with disabilities to attend pre-school alongside their peers.

September 2021

Learn about our work to save sight