Unite for Sight volunteers work with the nonprofit organization Eye Research Centre Society, which consists of 17 ophthalmologists, 33 optometrists, and 40 other paramediaal staff. The Unite For Sight volunteers work with the staff to screen for eye disease. The hospital provides all facilities, including local publicity of the eye camp, OPD arrangements, transportation for the team to the OPD site and back, transportation for the patients, 2-3 day stay for the patients in the hospital, food, medicine, and goggles for the operated patients, transportation back to their village, arrangements for final check up for the patients after 1-month of surgery, and provision of free eyeglasses as required.
Volunteers lodge at a motel near the hospital for $12/day. Food and local expenses vary, but a semi luxurious stay in Jaipur is approximately Rs 5,000.
The Jaipur program is suitable to anyone over the age of 18 with an interest in international service and health. Volunteers include gap year students, undergraduate students, medical students, public health students, public health professionals, nurses, opticians, and others.
Requirements: Hindi language ability strongly recommended.
--Click here to watch Unite For Sight's documentary film entitled An Eye Opener in India. This film details the accomplishments and efforts of one of Unite For Sight's programs in India, and the impact of Unite For Sight's partnerships with eye clinics.
--At Unite for Sight's Third Annual International Health Conference at Yale University in April 2006, Unite For Sight partner ophthalmologists Dr. James Clarke (Accra, Ghana), Dr. T. Senthil (Chennai, India), and Dr. Seth Wanye (Tamale, Ghana) discussed eye care needs and Unite For Sight programs in their countries. Click here to view the 20-minute session and learn more about volunteering with Unite For Sight.
--At Unite for Sight's Fourth Annual International Health Conference at Stanford University on April 14, 2007, a panel discussion was organized to discuss urgent global eye care needs. Click here to view this 1-hour panel discussion with Unite For Sight's partner Ghanaian and Indian ophthalmologists, partner eye clinic staff, and Medical Advisors.
"Through volunteering for Unite for Sight, I hoped to put a human face on the issues of poverty, global health inequity, and preventable blindness and gain hands-on experience in the fields of ophthalmology, optometry, and public health. In Jaipur, I accomplished all these goals and gained much more from the experience than I could have possibly imagined. I traveled to some of the most beautiful yet poverty-stricken locations in northern India. I saw some of the worst cases of eye disease imaginable and saw many of these cases cured. I made lifelong friends with fellow volunteers, staff members, and patients. Most importantly, I was able to make a tangible and meaningful difference in the lives of others by screening patients, communicating important eye health information, and attending to patients' pre- and post-operative comfort and well-being.
My entire experience in Jaipur was simply unforgettable, and I will always be grateful to Unite for Sight, Dr. Anshu Sahai, and the entire staff of Eye Research Centre Society for giving me the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and learn more about ophthalmology, global eye health, and the commonalities that bind all of us together as human beings. This was a truly life-changing experience that made me reevaluate how I wish to spend my life as a scholar, aspiring physician, and global citizen. Perhaps most heartwarming of all were the expressions of thanks and praise I heard from our patients: "Everyone in our town is delighted with the excellent care you provide. Through your great work, we are now able to see you and bless you today! May you live long!"--Nakul Shekhawat, Vanderbilt Student, Unite For Sight Volunteer in Jaipur, India