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Lehka and Nyan Pendyala are seven and nine years old, respectively. But youth has been no obstacle for these two social entrepreneurs, who have raised more than $10,000 for their Kids for Sight campaign. The Pendyala siblings aim to raise $260,000 to build an eye hospital for children in India.
Lehka and Nyan have launched their campaign through ORBIS International: Saving Sight, Rebuilding Lives, a nonprofit global development organization dedicated to saving sight worldwide. The kids have selected an ORBIS pediatric eye care project in India as the beneficiary of their fundraising efforts. India is home to almost a fifth of the world’s blind children and suffers from a severe lack of eye care professionals trained to treat children.
“In Sanskrit,” Nyan says, “[my name] means “eyes” and “vision.” I want to help blind children see their family and friend. My sister, Lehka wants to help, too. Her name means “line” and “writing,” and she knows that if you can’t see, you’re going to have a hard time learning to read and write.”
Both the Pendyala children celebrated their birthdays in October, and each requested that their friends and family donate to Kids for Sight in lieu of giving them presents.
ORBIS will use the Pendyala’s contribution to support the Pediatric Ophthalmology Learning and Training Center at Sankara Nethralaya Eye Hospital in Chennai, where work is underway to train medical professionals in the early identification and treatment of pediatric eye diseases and to organize outreach camps in rural areas to screen children for low vision and other visual disorders.
“What Nyan and Lehka are doing for ORBIS is magnificent,” said Geoffrey Holland, executive director of ORBIS International. “At such a young age, their display of compassion is an inspiration to all of us. Their efforts will make it possible for so many children who are unnecessarily blind in India to see their parents perhaps for the first time.”
Visit Nyan and Lehka’s campaign site at www.orbis.org/KidsForSight
|Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan was Editor of India Currents from July 2007-June 2009.|