10-year-old traumatic cataract patient Shivjee lives in Bihar

Orbis CEO Unveils First Children’s Initiative in India’s Poorest Region

April 2019

In Bihar, India, over 700,000 people are blind with less than half unable to access sight-saving surgery. The region also has the lowest literacy rates for girls and half of the population currently lives below the poverty line.

The first ever pediatric eye care project in Bihar - unveiled by our CEO Bob Ranck earlier in April - is dedicated to eradicating an epidemic of avoidable blindness among rural children in the Eastern India state.

Orbis CEO Bob Ranck unveils the inauguration plaque at the opening ceremony of the first ever Children's Eye Care Center in Bihar

CEO Bob Ranck, his wife Sue and our Orbis India family

The project, based at Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital (AJEH) also aims to empower women in the community and help them access vital eye care by employing female staff.

CEO Bob Ranck with the women employed at the new Children's Eye Center

The new center is empowering women in the region

Historically, women and girls in the district are among the most marginalized and face economic exploitation, malnutrition and child marriage.

Orbis, along with AJEH, have established the Children’s Eye Centre to provide affordable, sustainable, high quality child eye care services covering six districts.

We firmly believe that irrespective of a person’s capacity to pay, they should have access to world-class treatment. This initiative will contribute towards ensuring this. In the coming years, we hope to see every child in Bihar being able to access quality eye care services in their own community, regardless of their social or economic background.

Mr. Mritunjay Tiwary

Founder and Head of AJEH

Orbis CEO Bob Ranck and his wife Sue are given a tour of the new Children's Eye Center in Bihar

Taking a tour around the new pediatric eye care center

To date, 32 Children’s Eye Centres have been established across 16 states as part of Orbis India’s Childhood Blindness Initiative. It remains the largest network of dedicated Child Eye Centers in the world.

Orbis CEO Bob Ranck receiving a warm welcome to India with a traditional plate of food

Bob receives a warm welcome to India with some traditional food

Shivjee's story

The initiative will give children like Shivjee (pictured) a much brighter future

The initiative will help give children like Shivjee a much brighter future

The launch of the Children’s Eye Centre will mean young girls and boys facing blindness will not be held back from unleashing their potential. Take Shivjee’s story for example.

For the past two years 10-year-old Shivjee from Bihar had a traumatic cataract which remained untreated until Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital’s outreach team identified him during a screening camp and referred him to our partner hospital.

With hopes of being a police officer, the young boy had refused to get formal education for two years as he was unable to see.

When asked what he looked forward to the most when his right eye would be restored, Shivjee felt he would be able to achieve his dream career if he went back to school.

And after recovering from surgery, he did. Like other children his age, Shivjee can now get back to living life as normal and follow his dreams.

What the project hopes to achieve

During the next six years alongside the support of our amazing local partners, the initiative is expected to:

  • Provide support to 90,000 child patients
  • Conduct 290,000 pediatric eye examinations
  • Provide 10,000 pediatric optical treatments
  • Perform 3,600 pediatric eye surgeries

With every new effort such as this, we are slowly, but definitely inching towards realizing our dream of seeing a nation where no child is needlessly blind or visually impaired.

Dr. Rahul Ali

Country Director, Orbis

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