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Visually impaired lead World Sight Day event in Colombo

Hundreds of Sri Lankan youth pledge to donate their corneas to help others

October 17, 2016

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Around 100 visually impaired Sri Lankans led a large procession of blindfolded youths through the streets of Colombo as part of a global effort on Oct. 13 to raise awareness about blindness and vision impairment.

Church organization Project Vision took part in the walk — organized by the Rotary Club of Colombo Mid Town and Rotaract clubs — that is part of the World Sight Day initiative.

"We were born with eyes, so that we could see and serve others," said Claretian Father Yesudas, who uses one name, a member of Project Vision. The priest, who walked blindfolded with over 400 youngsters, said the procession made him more committed to working for the visually impaired.

Ishan Zalina, a visually impaired person who led the procession, said the day was one of her happiest as "several young people empathized with us for the first time by experiencing what it means to be blind."

Christopher, a youth leader from St. Theresa's parish in the Sri Lankan capital, said it was a tough experience walking for an hour blindfolded. He, along with 200 others on the day, committed to donating his corneas.

"I pledge my eyes for those visually impaired, so that some one among them can see," Christopher, who uses one name, told ucanews.com.

An estimated 285 million people worldwide live with low vision and blindness, says World Sight Day's website.

"Yet 80 percent of visual impairment is avoidable — i.e. readily treatable and/or preventable," it said.

Sri Lankans lead a large procession of blindfolded youths through the streets of Colombo on Oct. 13. (ucanews.com photo) 

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