Since 2011, he has given out 9,500 pairs of glasses worth nearly $500,000. It wasn’t until Yash Gupta broke his glasses in taekwondo practice that he realized just how much he relied on them. His prescription was so high that he had to wait a week to get a new pair.
For Gupta, then a high school freshman, those seven days were a blur. Literally.
“I just couldn’t see anything,” said Gupta, now 17. “I couldn’t see in the classroom; I would get easily distracted. … Just basic stuff I used to do every day, I couldn’t do.”
Gupta’s eyes were also opened to a much larger problem. He saw on the Internet that more than 12 million children worldwide don’t have the corrective eyewear they need (PDF).
“It’s just a total disadvantage for them, because (if) you can’t see anything … you definitely can’t make the most of the education you’re being given,” he said. “It would be impossible for them to fully achieve their potential.
“I had this problem for one week, but these kids have these problems for their whole lives.”
So at just 14, Gupta started Sight Learning, an organization that collects used eyeglasses from optometrists and donates them to organizations that can deliver them to children in need.
Since 2011, Gupta has donated 9,500 pairs of glasses, worth nearly $500,000, to young people in Haiti, Honduras, India and Mexico.
For Gupta, who has worn glasses since he was 5 years old, the idea of repurposing old eyewear made sense. Most of his family members wear glasses, and just searching his own home yielded instant results.
“I found 10 to 15 pairs just lying around the house in random drawers,” Gupta said.
He realized those glasses alone could help 10 or 15 children. So, with help from his father, Gupta set up his organization and approached local optometrists, who agreed to put out drop boxes where patients could donate their used eyeglasses after getting a new pair.
“That first interaction was really promising for me,” he said. “Some of (the optometrists) already had pairs of glasses that they had just accumulated over the years that they didn’t know what to do with.”
In the past three years, Gupta has gone on numerous trips to India and Mexico, where he not only provides glasses but also assists the doctors and volunteers at eye clinics.
Read Full Article here Teen’s vision: Help children see clearer
Courtesy & Originally posted on : CNN