After three years of tremendous success, Tamaso Ma JyotirGamaya, the Walk against Blindness saw its fourth edition on 8th January 2017 at 7:30 am on Palm Beach Road in Sanpada, Navi Mumbai. Organized by Advanced Eye Hospital and Institute (AEHI) and One Vision Health and Research Foundation, TMJ has been seeing a record-breaking number of participants come on the streets every year to make it the largest ever walk to raise awareness for eye pledging and eye donation.
The National Program for Control of Blindness states that 1.2 lakh Indians are blind from diseases of the cornea(the outer clear layer of our eye) and every year about 25 - 30,000 new cases are added to this humongous backlog.
TMJ, The Walk Against Blindness motivated people to get over their inhibitions and overcome the shortage of corneas. And it pushed across this somber message in a very light-hearted, fun-filled way. The walk had dance and song, refreshments, fervent sloganeering, celebrity performances, and an energetic anchoring by the live wire RJ Archana from Radiocity of ‘Salil and Archana’ fame.
This year, the Walk was preceded by a Carnival in the top eight colleges of Navi Mumbai which saw college students participating in singing, dancing, and video-making contests as pre-event activities. The finalists of these contests showcased their talent during the Walk.
This year’s edition saw about 12000 people participating which included hundreds of doctors, students from all the schools in Navi Mumbai, college kids, senior citizens, and dozens of social organizations and NGOs.
Mr. Satish Mathur, Director General of Police, Maharashtra State, the Chief Guest of Honour was joined by the Mayor of Navi Mumbai, Mr. Sudhakar Sonawane, the Commissioner of Police, Navi Mumbai Mr. Hemant Nagrale, and Dr. Nitin Kadam Trustee MGM Trust, to inspire people to pledge their eyes for eye donation. Nooka Nation, Tata Motors, Humanity First Foundation, Evolve Business School, Direct To You, Lions Club, Rotary Club, Y Guys, New Bombay Punjabi Association, Kutch Yuvak Sangh, Schools and Colleges like Avalon Heights, St. Lawrence, Poddar International, NIFT, Sterling NCRD, ICL College, SIES College, Modern College, Pillai College, Hellen Keller Institute for Deaf and Deaf-Blind, Indian Navy, Anti Corruption Intelligence Committee, NGOs Awaaz, Aarambh, Tarun Mitr Mandal, Jan Seva Mitr Mandal, Agarwal Samaj, Lohana Samaj, Kannada Samaj, Mangalam Foundation, MITR Hospital, Kerala Medical Trust, Indian Merchant Chamber, Achievers Zone, and Success Foundation are just a few of many organizations that extended their support for this cause.
Dr. Vandana Jain, Cornea & Cataract Surgeon and Director of Advanced Eye Hospital and Institute (AEHI) said,” We have now more and more people in Navi Mumbai registering for eye donation on our website as well within the eye hospital. With the events such as the walk against blindness, we plan to raise funds for poor patients for surgeries also. Last year we did 500 free surgeries and distributed free spectacles to more than 5000 old people. These were all poor patients who could not afford treatment for even 500 rs. We also adopted some villages in the nearby areas with help of One Vision Health and Research Foundation for free eye care. I urge all Navi Mumbaikars to work towards making Navi Mumbai a model city with the highest rates of eye donation and completely blindness free.”
The walk was flagged off by Mr Satish Mathur at 7:30 am at AEHI, Sector 17, Palm Beach Road, Sanpada.