A tête-à-tête with the eye health staff of MFV’s 100th Vision Centre
On the occasion of Mission for Vision's 100th Vision Centre launch, the Mission for Vision team decided to connect with the Vision Centre staff at Jasra to gain a better understanding of the ground realities in terms of eye care.

With the aim of providing accessible, affordable and quality eye care, Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) has joined hands with Mission for Vision (MFV) for setting up 20 new vision centres (VCs) in several districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar under their Seeing is Believing and Mission Jyot programmes respectively. As a part of this partnership, Shri Sadguru Seva Sangh Trust (SSST) has already established 10 Vision Centres in February 2022. The launch of the Vision Centre at Jasra, Uttar Pradesh marks Mission for Vision’s 100th Vision Centre and SSST’s 11th Vision Centre under this project with SCB and MFV.

On this occasion, the Mission for Vision team decided to connect with the Vision Centre staff at Jasra to gain a better understanding of the ground realities in terms of eye care. During this interaction, the staff from the Vision Centre share more insights about the eye care requirements in the region and how this primary eye care centre will benefit various communities of Jasra and beyond.

This will be a special Vision Centre for Mission for Vision, as it marks a huge milestone in MFV’s journey. How do you feel to be associated with MFV’s 100th Vision Centre?

Chhote Lal Sonkar (Vision Technician): We feel privileged to be associated with the Vision Centre and most importantly, we feel fortunate to serve the needy and poor communities in this area.

Renu Devi (Community Health Worker): We are quite excited about this launch. It feels even better when we inform the communities around the area that a new eye care facility will be opened in this area. Even the communities are sharing the same excitement and we hope to have a good footfall as a result.

Could you please provide us a glimpse into Jasra and its cultural fabric?

Chhote Lal Sonkar (Vision Technician): Jasra Block is a small town and is well connected by road as well as by rail. Nestled beside the Yamuna River, the primary occupation of the people here is agriculture. We celebrate Diwali and Holi with great pomp and show. Presently, working in soaring temperatures that touch 50 degrees Celsius is making work challenging for us, but we continue with it as a part of our daily and routine life.

Renu Devi (Community Health Worker): It gets quite challenging for me, as I have to visit many locations and connect with diverse communities. However, my work is so gratifying that I forget everything and carry on with it, regardless of the scorching heat, heavy rains or cold weather conditions.

Any myths around the community about eye care in this region?

Chhote Lal Sonkar (Vision Technician): Usually, lot of community members in this area fear undergoing eye surgeries around summers. They harbour a misconception that surgeries during summer season will make them vulnerable to infections. However, Ms Renu Devi and I are already speaking to community members and educating them about timely surgery. We have to patiently explain to them that seasons have no impact on surgeries and they can safely undergo surgeries at any point of time – earlier the better!

What are some of the services that the Vision Centre will provide and how will it benefit socio-economically challenged communities?

Chhote Lal Sonkar (Vision Technician): Our aim is to provide a comprehensive eye examination and refractive services, regardless of their paying capacity. The spectacle counter will offer a wide range of choices in terms of frames. The affordable prices and the high-quality services will definitely bring about a behaviour change among these communities and they will seek eye care as a preventative measure and not as a reactive approach.

Our Community Health Worker – Ms Renu Devi will play a pivotal role in this process and generate greater awareness on eye health, thus amplifying our efforts.

What are your dreams and ambitions for this Vision Centre?

Chhote Lal Sonkar (Vision Technician): At the outset, I feel very fortunate to be a part of this Vision Centre and serve communities in need. There is nothing more satisfying than the quick results that you notice when you provide eye care. Unlike other fields of healthcare, eye care often provides instant results. It is extremely rewarding when your patients can see clearly and the joyful expressions on their faces is what makes me happy. 

Through this Vision Centre, my dream is to provide quality eye care to marginalised communities and ensure that maximum amount of people benefit from these services. I wish to contribute only the very best, so that we can address the huge burden of avoidable blindness in this area.

Thank you so much for taking time out from your schedule and speaking with us. From all of us at Mission for Vision, we wish you all the best and looking forward to the inauguration of this special 100th Vision Centre of Mission for Vision.


About the Authors: 

Shrikant Ayyangar is the Lead for Communications at Mission for Vision, where he spearheads the organisation’s communications efforts and plays a key role in communication strategy, website management, social media outreach, media relations, content curation and branding activities.

Sandip Banerjee is the Senior Manager with the Programme Development team of Mission for Vision. Sandip’s role at Mission for Vision involves implementation of eye health projects, networking and linkages with Government and other key stake holders, partner support, formulation of projects and monitoring.