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ACS Cobham student travels to India on sight-saving charity assignment

Published Friday 8th of May 2015 02:29:29 PM

ACS Cobham International School student, Shreya Gupta, aged 16, spent her Easter holidays a little differently this year, embarking on a sight saving mission to India.

The project, now entering its fifteenth year, is part of a journalism internship sponsored by ACS International Schools Foundation and Orbis, a global sight-saving charity working to improve access to eye care by training local eye care teams in developing countries.

Shreya was joined on the trip by three other ACS students, Amara Le and Shania Ali from ACS Egham, and Rosie Croysdale from ACS Hillingdon.

The four students visited local vision centres, schools and long-term eye care projects to witness the impact of Orbis�s work and gain an insight into the challenges of developing eye care facilities where the need is so great. India has one of the highest blindness rates in the world; eight million people are entirely blind, of which 320,000 are children.

Shreya, who grew up in Delhi, admired the positive outlook of the patients she met, commenting:

�Interacting with the patients at the various projects was an enriching experience. Knowing the local dialect enabled me to talk to many different people and they were all incredibly positive, regardless of the problem or situation.

�We also spoke to medical trainees and gained an insight into their lives, interests and aspirations. They had such enthusiasm for learning and an optimistic outlook, and have inspired me significantly to continue to pursue a medical profession.�

The students were awarded their places on the trip following a rigorous application process. This involved a written application and an interview with a panel of six representatives from ACS International Schools, ACS International Schools Foundation and Orbis.

On their trip, the students attended a screening at an eye camp, set up in rural areas where eye care is not easily accessible. As well as local vision centres, students visited Dr Shroff�s Charity Eye Hospital, which Orbis has been supporting and building up children�s eye health services since 2002. This allowed the students to experience first-hand the difference Orbis can make to people�s lives.

Florence Branchu, Orbis Corporate Partnerships Manager commented:

�Orbis is delighted to be supported by the ACS International Schools again this year, bringing our partnership well into its second decade and over �300,000 worth of sight-saving support. What�s great about this relationship is that ACS have not only substantially funded our work, but Orbis has also been able to showcase the impact of their fantastic support direct to their students.

Through this annual internship we are able to educate the lucky students and their peers about the issue of preventable blindness in developing countries. By doing so, we hope to inspire the next generation of medics and Orbis ambassadors.�

During their time in Delhi, the students wrote extensively about their experiences. You can find out what they saw and read their blogs here: www.orbis.org/news/uk/blog

After the internship, Shreya stayed on in Delhi to re-explore the city and share her experiences of the Orbis internship with friends and family.

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