KINDLY NOTE: MEDIA RELEASE by Australian Consulate General, Chennai (09-10-2014)
To mark World Sight Day, the Australian Consulate-General in Chennai today announced its support for a vision screening program for school children led by the India Vision Institute.
With the support of a grant from the Consulate-General’s Direct Aid Program, around 4000 disadvantaged children between the ages of 4 and 15 years from 15 selected schools in Chennai and its suburbs will have their vision screened. Students diagnosed with refractive errors will be provided free spectacles to reduce the prevalence of visual impairment.
“Good vision is fundamental to every child’s future,” the Australian Consul-General for South India, Mr Sean Kelly, said when announcing the grant. “By identifying children who need glasses and providing these to them, we can improve their ability to study, secure employment, and lead productive lives.”
“Undetected and uncorrected refractive error is a major problem among school children in India,” agreed Mr Vinod Daniel of the India Vision Institute (IVI). “Not having access to a simple pair of glasses restricts a child’s ability to learn using available educational opportunities. This program will greatly assist these children in achieving their full potential,” he added.
IVI is a joint initiative of the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Sydney, Australia, and LV Prasad Eye Institute of Hyderabad. IVI is focused on supporting and promoting awareness, research, education and technological development in Indian optometry to advance capacity in vision correction and prevention of blindness.
“I am particularly pleased that this long-term partnership between eye specialists in Australia and India will be helping disadvantaged kids here in Chennai,” Mr Kelly said.
The Direct Aid Program of the Australian government provides small grants for projects that alleviate poverty and support development in India, with a particular focus on projects that benefit the rural and urban poor, and women and girls.
For further information, contact Ms Sukanya Ramanujan, Public Diplomacy Manager, at
Sukanya.Ramanujan@dfat.gov.au or on + 91 44 4592 1300.
“Through the Direct Aid Program we are looking to engage with innovative partners who are focused on development across a number of areas such as education, environmental sustainability, good governance, small-scale infrastructure and gender equality,” said Mr Kelly.
The Australian Consulate-General in Chennai’s Direct Aid Program provides grants for small-scale, sustainable projects across all sectors that support development and strengthen communities in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala, Pondicherry and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Further information can be found at http://www.india.highcommission.gov.au/ndli/DAP.html