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

Published Monday 18th of July 2016 10:55:23 AM

ACS Egham International School student, Lillian Davies, aged 17, has recently returned from a once-in-a-lifetime experience, visiting India on a unique journalism internship. The project, now entering its sixteenth year, is sponsored by ACS International Schools Foundation and Orbis, a global sight-saving charity working to improve access to eye services by training local eye care teams in developing countries. Lillian was joined on the trip by four other ACS students; Ruthie Glauber, aged 15, from ACS Cobham; Hana Dowidar, aged 16 and Roberta Muller, aged 18, from ACS Hillingdon; and Joshua Jacob, aged 16, from ACS Doha. The five students visited a range of eye care services, from the H V Desai Hospital in Pune, to a school eye care screening in the hills of Panchgani. They also visited a school for blind students and watched as 150 people had their bandages removed following cataract surgery - patients from just one morning’s surgery list. India has one of the highest blindness rates in the world; eight million people are entirely blind, of which 320,000 are children. During the internship, students posted regular blogs, photos and social media updates and this year, for the first time, Orbis UK has also tasked the students to produce a short narrative film to educate young people. Lillian was inspired by the Indian culture and the difference eye surgery makes to peoples’ lives, commenting: “I was in awe of India during the whole trip. It is a beautiful country, from the crazy traffic jams with 18 lanes of traffic (and goats in the middle of the road!), to brightly coloured saris and monkeys on the highway. “On day one we had the amazing experience of observing two cataract surgeries. We interviewed a couple of consultants and nurses about their work, and they agreed that their passion for their work comes from the satisfaction of seeing patients walk out of the hospital with the gift of sight. It is truly inspiring to be able to see the changes that these simple surgeries and screenings can make to their lives.” The students were awarded their places on the trip following a rigorous application process. This involved a written submission and an interview with a panel of six representatives from ACS International Schools, ACS International Schools Foundation and Orbis UK . Kathryn Sweet, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Orbis UK commented: “ACS International Schools has partnered with Orbis UK for the 16th year to provide its students with a fantastic opportunity to see the world differently. Five outstanding candidates were selected for their ability to connect with our work and capture engaging stories, photos and videos which will educate others on their experience. They did a fantastic job and threw themselves into the task at hand. Orbis is extremely grateful for this partnership with ACS, as its support is even greater than their generous financial donation, which now exceeds £400,000, as its students continue to enthuse countless others to join the fight against avoidable blindness.” During their time in Pune, the students wrote extensively about their experiences. To find out more about what they saw and to read their blogs, click on the following link: www.orbis.org/news/uk/blog
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