EYE MITRA (Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh)
The EyeMitra Optician program addresses triple objectives: to provide livelihood opportunities to rural youth, to cater to the vision care needs of the rural communities of the country and creation of a rural optician market opportunity
With the funding partner Essilor (2.5 New Vision Generation), Eye Mitra program was started by B-ABLE in 2012 from Hapur and has now been scaled up with 14 operational centres in 2016 (10 in UP and 3 in Rajasthan). The project has created 1966 Eye Mitra Opticians (EMO) in Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The Eye Mitra project trains the rural youth to become opticians (EMO), who open small optical shops in their villages. The EMOs also conduct vision screening events in the villages and dispense appropriate spectacles to the people and refer cases that require medical intervention to hospitals.
An optical shop in the vicinity helps to create awareness about vision care among the villagers. The spectacles dispensed by EMO at the doorsteps turn out to be a cost effective and convenient proposition for the villagers.
In two states Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, Eye Mitra Project is covering more than 50 districts and mobilizing youths to become Eye Mitra Optician. These EMOs are conducting vision screening from their outlets and also organizing village level events for vision screening. Every month more than 100,000 rural people are availing vision screening services in the nearby areas and 30,000 end users are growing every month. In next 3 years, project will create more than 1 million end users.
More than 70% of India’s population resides in villages where vision care awareness and its solutions have still not reached. Most of the villagers, beyond the age of 40 years, suffer from some kind of eye ailment which they are completely unaware of. As any form of economic activity is directly linked to the ability to see, persons with poor eye sight are also affected with lower productivity and lesser income.
In order to address this problem, Eye Mitra project was envisaged.
With continuous effort, dedication and hardwork of the EyeMitra team at NEC and on ground, we have 320 new EyeMitras in this quarter. This makes the cumulative figure of 4733. These EyeMitras are now capable to earn their own livelihood. Presently we have 16 operational EyeMitra centres in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
The project has been able to address issues pertaining to migration, poor access to vision care services and rural unemployment.