‘Roshni Zindagi Mein’ objectives in sync with National Programme for the Control of Blindness (NPCB) Vision 2020 : Right to Sight programme to emphasise the need for 2 lakh cornea donations every year
Urgent need for 10,000 qualified Optometrists to support Eye Donation process
Increase awareness of calling 1919 to contact the nearest eye bank, donate eyes
Video promo of forthcoming album ‘Kaash’ unveiled
Mumbai, July 11, 2012: Lawrence & Mayo (“L&M”), India’s most trusted opticians for 135 years, and pioneers in ophthalmic optics & instrumentation, announced their association with Guinness Record holder Virag Wankhede’s ‘Roshni Zindagi Mein,’ a pan India campaign to increase awareness on the noble cause of eye donation – with 2 lakh cornea donations needed every year as against 20,000 cornea donations at present. It will also communicate that one simple call to universal number 1919 can help people contact the nearest eye bank and transform a life. On the occasion, Vivek Mendonsa (Founder & Marketing Director, L&M) and Virag Wankhede also unveiled a video promo of the forthcoming album ‘Kaash’ focussed towards spreading the message in favour of eye donation.
‘Roshni Zindagi Mein’ is an initiative by Viraag’s Artist Trust, an NGO working towards educating, entertaining and engaging with audiences on social causes, through the medium of Music and Art. Commencing from mid July 2012, the ‘Roshni Zindagi Mein’ team including leading Doctors from National Programme for the Control of Blindness (NPCB), a Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India body, will travel across all the key districts in Pune and rest of Maharashtra, to spread the message on the urgent need for corneas in India as a mere 10 per cent of applications being met through current resources. As part of the campaign, schools and colleges will be roped in to participate in drawing contests centred around the ‘Eye Donation and Blindness theme.’ The following Organizations have extended their official support for this cause: National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), National Programme for the Control of Blindness (NPCB), Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) and National Service Scheme (NSS).
Vivek Mendonsa, Founder and Marketing Director of Lawrence & Mayo, said, “Responsible citizenship and Lawrence & Mayo have always gone hand-in-hand. As part of our community welfare programmes, we conduct multiple activities to raise awareness on prevention and treatment of loss of vision. We felt an instant connect with Guinness Record Holder Virag Wankhede’s noble objective behind the ‘Roshni Zindagi Mein’ campaign – to draw more cornea donations and bring light into lakhs of lives languishing without sight. Starting with Maharashtra, we plan to take this humble effort to the national level and bring about a sea change in people’s attitude to donating their eyes.”
“At Lawrence & Mayo and as part of my role as President of ASCO (Association of Schools and Colleges on Optometry), we have been working hard to build awareness on Optometry as an ideal career option for students passed out Twelfth Grade from the Gen Science stream. India needs 10,000 qualified optometrists annually, against which we have a mere 1,200 enrolments happening. If we are to achieve success in collecting corneas on time; ensuring proper storage; reaching the intended recipient on time and in the right conditions, we need to have ten times the number of capable optometrists available today. Qualified Optometrists have lucrative multiple employment options across all cities in India and overseas,” added Mendonsa.
Virag Wankhede of Virag’s Artist Trust added, “At Viraag’s Artist Trust’, our endeavour has been to reach out to people through music and art, which have a universal appeal. Through the ‘Roshni Zindagi Mein’ initiative, our prime endeavour is to break existing myths and increase response levels at the grassroot levels to the appeal for eye donation. Against an existing demand of 2,00,000 corneas, only 20,000 are being donated. Relying on music as the story telling medium, we want to highlight the helplessness and agony of the sightless, and convey the message that with one simple call to universal number 1919, one can contact the nearest eye bank and transform a life.” Wankhede is a World Record Holder for “Non-Stop Solo Singing for six days and 6 nights without Food and Sleep” setting a new heights of human body limits in medical science; Guinness Record Holder for “World’s Longest Karaoke Marathon Multiple Participants Non Stop singing for 555 hours 5mins & 5 secs; Guinness World Record on March 22, 2011, in Tabla along with 155 Tabla Players for playing Tabla non-stop as well as simultaneously for 1min & 45 seconds”.
Padmashri Dr. T. P. Lahane, involved with Lawrence & Mayo and Viraag’s Artist Trust on the ‘Roshni Zindagi Mein’ initiative, said, “A key ingredient of Vision 2020: Right to Sight programme from the Govt. Of India, is to sensitize people and involve opinion leaders and NGOs working with community at the grassroot level, in advocacy and communication appealing for eye donation. We need personnel with high knowledge and awareness levels, a positive attitude and appropriate skills, to enable delivery of quality service, including proper content and coverage. It is indeed gratifying to have the involvement of highly capable, committed individuals like Virag Wankhede and Vivek Mendonsa working for this worthy cause. We feel confident that as we take the campaign to advanced stages and cover more states, we will be gaining ground and moving closer to meeting our set target.”
With the aim to fight treatable blindness, Lawrence & Mayo organises regular ‘Eye Donation Camp’ at all its outlets. This initiative encourages citizens to pledge their eyes for donation post their death. Interested donors can avail the forms on Facebook and at Lawrence & Mayo outlets. The ‘Eye Bank Co-ordination & Research Centre’ (EBCRC) and other partnering eye banks issue Eye donor cards through Lawrence & Mayo to each & every donor. On an ongoing basis, Lawrence & Mayo organizes free vision screening camps at all their stores across India during World Sight Day (October 13) and World Optometry Day (March 23). Holding fort in the field of eye testing, contact lens practice and dispensing, Lawrence & Mayo has kept abreast with global ophthalmic technology trends. Their Eye care Experts use sophisticated ophthalmic equipments for conducting Precision Eye Tests and conduct free check-up camps. To bring the underprivileged sections within its fold, Lawrence & Mayo periodically carries out ‘Old Spectacle Collection Drive’. Interested citizens can donate their old or spare spectacle at any outlet of Lawrence & Mayo. These spectacles are mended and given to the needy. Free eye screening programmes are also conducted at various schools and colleges.