After traveling many places individually my brother, Justice (18), sister, Sydney (20), and I, Chambrey (24) decided we would do one final trip together before we started going our separate ways in life. None of us had been to India and once we started looking we found some amazing organizations that we knew we could learn so much from in the humanitarian field. When we first got there we had general ideas of things we wanted to do but nothing specific until we started teaching. At the school we worked, the children were separated into classes based on intellect.
Those who did the best in school got the best teachers, the newest supplies, and ultimately the highest chance at succeeding in the career they wanted. We were assigned the children in the lowest classes who had with no expectations, old books, and half the time no teacher in the room. As we were teaching, we realized as we asked the kids to read some of them couldn’t see the book unless it was centimeters from their face.
They were smart kids, they just couldn’t see. As we thought back to our elementary school days we realized how many children in our classes had glasses. Yet, we could count on one hand the number of children we saw with glasses at this school of almost 2000. Because my siblings and I have bad vision this issue was dear to our heart. What if we had been born without the chance to get glasses? Where would we be at in our lives now? They deserved a chance to succeed in life!
We got ophthalmologists in India on board to come screen the children and started a social campaign on Indiegogo to fundraise money to buy glasses for the children. That first year, we were able to provide over 100 people with glasses. We were also able to use local opthamologists, doctors, and glasses so the community continued to prosper.
While we screened for eye problems we also screened for medical issues like anemia, irregular heart rate, cavities, small things that can have a huge impact on your ability to learn and be healthy.
When we came home we set up a humanitarian company where we take volunteers back to India with us each summer to conduct medical clinics, eyeglass clinics, and vocational trainings in rural areas of India, we realized that if we could just fix those minor issues their quality of life and quality of schooling would increase dramatically.
So that’s what we did and so can you! There is a great need for volunteers with an open heart and mind to help raise awareness. Whether you are at home or want to volunteer abroad, you can always help spread the word giving everyone the chance they deserve.