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Chennai hosts its first METRO BLINDWALK’15

Chennai’s first ever BLINDWALK took place in Marina Beach, Service Road from Labour Statue (Anna Samadi) to Kannagi Statue. The unique walk was flagged off by Dr. De Groof Bart, Consul General, Belgium and Chennai’s own visually challenged achiever Ms. P. Aruna Devi, MSW, Treasurer, Society for Rights of Women with Disabilities (SFRWD) and Assistant to Commissioner of Revenue Administration Department, Chennai.

The walk had over 1500 people in all, 1100 blind folded led by 200 blind persons and helped by 200 volunteers and people from different walks of life participated with the primary goal of giving the Visually Challenged an opportunity to see. Coinciding with National Eye Donation Fortnight ( 25th August to 8th September), the walk has been organized by The Project Vision with 104 Health Helpline the primary objective of spreading awareness on blindness and to educate the public on avenues of pledging one's eyes. More than 30 organizations were represented at the walk. Kamachi Group, TEEMS INDIA, SICAME Group, SAS Partners, Kerala Catholic Society (KCS), Kerala Cultural & Welfare Association (KCWA), ‘C’ Thru Scientific Opticians and City Tag Printers were the sponsors for the walk.

Stella Maris College, Loyola College, Queen Mary’s College, Vivekananda College, St. Thomas College of Arts and Science, Presidency College, Women's Christian College and ALERT (NGO) were our partners for the walk.

The Visually Challenged participants were from MRCDS - Loyola, National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and Government Hostel for the Blind, Kodambakkam.

BLINDWALK is a creative way to communicate the message of eye donation developed by The Project Vision and was conducted first time in the World in Bangalore last year. The whole concept is synthesized in one phrase, FEEL BEING BLIND. The blind person will lead the sighted persons in a blind folded walk, an experience that would lead to a more compassionate attitude to the visually challenged persons, which includes donation of eyes. Tamil Nadu has been exceeding its targets in eye donations for the last few years. There are nine eye banks in the government sector and 14 eyes banks run by non-governmental organisations across the State.

There are three reasons why Chennai is so good with transplants. The first is awareness – the Tamil Nadu public is very aware about organ donation, second is that the state has an excellent Organ Sharing Registry, which is transparent and foolproof. The third reason is the government’s industrious work – the police helps immediately in transporting organs, the state government itself has made the process of post-mortem and handing over of the body very quick and smooth. So the government, police, the people and doctors have come together to create an excellent ecosystem. By organizing BLINDWALK our goal is to provide an opportunity to experience what is blindness for the participants and through this to create awareness for the public about eye donation.