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Contest has vision in sight

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | News | September 28th, 2009



Her Sight Is Worth It, a national video contest is raising awareness of blindness among girls and women and the barriers they face accessing proper eye care in developing countries.

The video contest is restricted to girls aged 13 and older and targets girls in high school, college, university and film schools.

“Right now, we are engaging the Canadian public in an awareness campaign, Her Sight Is Worth It, a video contest open to all students,” said Irma Arkus a Seva Canada Communications Coordinator. “Winning videos will be showcased across eight cities in Canada during World Community Film Festival, and in their name, a girl and a woman will have their eyesight restored.”

Seva stresses the importance of eye-care for girls and women in the field, working with leading international organizations to not only eliminate gender inequity in eye care, but also eliminate preventable blindness worldwide.

“I think the thing to stress is that Seva trains local eye care professionals that will serve their communities for generations to come,” said Heather Wardle, a Development Director for Seva Canada. “In many regions where Seva works we are successfully treating the backlog of those who are blind from cataracts and, using Seva-trained eye doctors, we are creating a situation where, like in Canada, no one will go blind from cataracts but will receive treatment long before the cataracts harm their vision.

“All our programs reach out to the most vulnerable, children, women, the very poor and those who live in remote areas to ensure that children and women get treatment and the follow-up care that the children need.”

World sight day is October 8, and the theme for this year's national video contest is the issue of gender equity and eye health.

Seva, an international eye care charity based in Vancouver has been working for over 27 years to restore sight for girls and women in developing countries. Currently, Seva Canada is providing funding and expertise to over seven regions including: Nepal, Tibet, India, Tanzania and eastern Africa, Guatemala, Cambodia and Egypt.

“Sight restoration and blindness prevention programs emphasize local management, establish high volume of treatments at the lowest cost, are directed to those most in need through fundraising programs in Canada, and are especially geared to provide services to women and girls,” Arkus stressed.

It is estimated that 45 million people are blind worldwide, of whom 90 per cent live in developing countries where access to proper eye care, especially for women, is miniscule. According to Seva, these girls and women receive approximately half the care as men do in developing countries.

“The kind of stories that we get from the field are remarkable and touching. To restore one's sight is to change that person's life. A girl or a woman literally has a second chance. That also applies to her caretaker. Often these simple surgeries allow two people to go back to school, earn a trade, make a living,” Arkus said.

The World Health Organization has stated that in order to reduce poverty rates, we must help restore sight in developing countries for girls and women.

Seva, a leading eye care charity receives support from CIDA, and are a participating member of Vision 2020, collaborating with various international foundations in order to accomplish something truly remarkable.

G.A.P. Adventures and the Planeterra Foundation sponsor the national video contest.

For further information on how you can get involved or support Seva's mission please visit www.hersight.ca or the charities' official website at www.seva.ca
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