Background and Plan:

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the importance of handwashing, respiratory hygiene, and social distancing appeared as a key preventive measure against COVID-19. The populations most at risk are those that depend heavily on the informal economy. VSF created awareness, provided information, and trained weaver and artisan communities on keeping themselves from the pandemic. VSF also distributed hygiene kits to 16,500 households, which comprised of 88,500 weavers and artisans and their family members. Each kit had cloth masks, soap, detergent, and leaflets on COVID-19 prevention. The mobilisation support was given by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH) and the Gramin Vikas Evam Chetna Sansthan (GVECS). The Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) produced the cloth masks that were used in the hygiene kits. Thus, the SEWA members were also empowered as part of this project.

 
Results:


Total number of hygiene kits distributed: 16,500.
Total number of household members touched: 88,500.

 Background and Plan

 VSF associated with multiple mission-aligned organizations/bodies across the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra in India to provide eyeglasses to the children who required them. A total of 11,464 children were provided eyeglasses through this initiative. This enabled these children to see clearly and would lead to enhancement of their educational outcomes as 80% of all learning is through vision. This initiative would help them actively participate.

Background and Plan:

 As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the importance of handwashing, respiratory hygiene, and social distancing appeared as a key preventive measure against COVID-19. The populations most at risk are those that depend heavily on the informal economy. VSF created awareness, provided information, and trained weaver communities on keeping themselves from the pandemic. VSF also distributed hygiene kits to 16,500 households. Each kit had cloth masks, soap, detergent, and leaflets on COVID-19 prevention. The mobilisation and distribution support at Sambalpur was given by the Vision India Foundation. 50 Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) each were trained on COVID-19 prevention at both Sambalpur and Bargarh. At Sambalpur, the ASHAs also gave mobilisation and distribution support.

 Results:

Total number of hygiene kits distributed: 16,500.
Total number of household members touched: 73,060.
50 ASHAs trained on COVID-19 prevention at Sambalpur and Bargarh each. 

Anu Devi is a weaver from the Jakhado Ki Dhani village in the Barmer District of Rajasthan and had no work during the COVID-19 pandemic. She shared that she gets work on on-demand basis, and as there was no demand, they are struggling to make the ends meet. She also shared that people do not follow the precautionary measures to protect themselves from COVID-19 because they believe that it won’t affect people in the villages. Post the awareness activities of VSF in their village, people started wearing masks given by them. Anu Devi also started making cloth masks after VSF staff shared the information leaflet on ‘how to make masks”. Within a few days, Anu Devi made 50 cloth masks and gave them to the villagers.

Anu Devi was very grateful to VSF for making her and her family aware about the handwashing and social distancing norms and the usage, washing, and maintenance of masks. She said that these preventive measures would help her and her family fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Photos and Media/Press Coverage of VSF’s work in Barmer, Rajasthan

Post the awareness and sensitization exercise, VSF conducted a survey.

Key Survey Findings

  • Lack of awareness: People are not aware about the safety measures due to lack of information and existing myths in villages:

Statement by a few beneficiaries:
"We would not get infected because we eat locally grown millet bread and live in hot weather.”

  • Behavioral change on hygiene practices: Due to constant follow-ups, the people have started practicing hand hygiene and maintaining social distancing.  ​

Statement by a few beneficiaries:
"We do not wash our hands often due to lack of water, but now as we are aware about the Coronavirus and its contagious nature, we will wash hands using soaps and will also keep our households neat and clean.”
Financial burden and lack of work: Weaver and artisan communities are facing problems in feeding their families as they do not have work amidst the pandemic.

  • Lack of basic amenities: Basic amenities such as water and sanitation facilities are unavailable, and hospitals and healthcare facilities are not easily accessible as they are in the city and people have to travel long distances for the same.
  • Survey Analysis: It suggests that it is going to be a long and sustained battle against COVID-19 and it can only be controlled through continuous efforts by maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, and following hand hygiene.

Tejram Meher (47 years) is a saree weaver from the Panagaan village in the Bargarh District of Odisha. There are 3 weavers in his family and he has been working as a weaver for more than 12 years.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, he faced many problems. There were also floods in his village due to heavy rainfall. All the sarees he weaved got submerged in water and he had to stop weaving.

He was very grateful to VSF for making him aware about the handwashing and social distancing norms and the usage, washing, and maintenance of masks. He said that these preventive measures would help him fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photos of VSF’s Work in Sambalpur and Bargarh, Odisha

Activity Report: VisionSpring Foundation for the period 1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020

Mission:


To provide eye-screening, primary eye-care services, and eye-health advice to the people at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid.

Current Scenario:

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, more than 700 million people in the developing world struggle with poor life quality due to bad eyesight. It is estimated that uncorrected vision results in $227 billion in lost productivity to the global economy. 1.1 billion globally need eyeglasses for near vision correction and their vision can be restored with just a simple pair of reading glasses. In India alone, an estimated 550 million (55 Crore) people require eyeglasses for vision correction. Blurry vision compromises one’s ability to work effectively, to read and learn in school, and to navigate surroundings with ease and safety. For many living in developing countries suffering from vision loss, a pair of eyeglasses could mean the difference between opportunity and loss of income and quality of life.

Activities:

VisionSpring Foundation (VSF) is an NGO (not-for-profit) that does eye-screening for the poor people, provides primary eye-care services, and eye-health advice with FCRA Registration Number: 231661855. VSF also has the facility of providing eyeglasses to those who need them. VSF conducts community outreach activities and free eye-screening camps. The mobile eye-care units (vans) go to the remote interiors and provide last mile vision-care services to the poor. VSF also provides eye-care/eye-health advice centres and refers patients with complex eye diseases (such as cataract, etc.) to the nearest eye hospital. VSF helps change the lives of the poor people in India by aiding in restoring their vision.

 VisionSpring Foundation (VSF) received a grant amount of USD 927,910 from 1st January 2020 to 30th September 2020:


Programs/Projects Undertaken between 1st July 2020 and 30th September 2020

 1. COVID-19 Awareness and Hygiene Kit Distribution for Weavers and Artisans

 Location: Barmer, Rajasthan, India

3. Provision of Children’s Eyeglasses

     Location: Gujarat and Maharashtra, India

Testimonial


Programme Collaterals and Awareness Leaflets

2. COVID-19 Awareness and Hygiene Kit Distribution for Weavers  and Artisans


    Location: Sambalpur and Bargarh, Odisha, India 

    Program/Project Completed in October 2020

Results

A total of 11,464 children were provided eyeglasses through this initiative