Hope to the Peripheries

Dec 5, 2023 | Bangalore, Health Care, Social Welfare

Bangalore, India. On the 3rd of December 2023, which is observed as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Hope Society celebrated its 35th anniversary and Project Vision celebrated its 10th anniversary at Claretian Seminary in Bangalore. The Claretians of Bangalore established Hope Society in 1988 to work among people on the fringes of society, and Project Vision was launched in 2013 to provide sight to visually impaired individuals. 

The Claretian Missionaries founded Hope as an action group for social activities during their formation, led by Fr George Kannanthanam, CMF. Over time, Hope has grown into a highly successful intervention program that provides support for alcoholics, drug addicts, people living with HIV/AIDS, those with disabilities, and those affected by various disasters across India and beyond. To respond to what was “timely, urgent, and effective,” Hope developed 13 creative interventions in line with the Claretian charism. 

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Fr. Sabu George, CMF, the Provincial of the Claretian Province of Bangalore, presided over the program and praised the effectiveness of the Hope initiatives. The Hope Recovery Centre in Belgaum has successfully treated over 12,000 individuals struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. Additionally, the support centers in Bangalore and Belgaum have provided residential support and rehabilitation to more than 6,000 people living with HIV. 

During a presentation by Fr. Mario Zalki, CMF, Director of Project Vision, which was established in 2013, he discussed the impact of the eye donation movement. Over half a million people have pledged to donate their eyes after death, thanks to this initiative. Project Vision also developed an innovative program called Blind Walk, which was conducted in more than 1000 locations across seven countries. This program aimed to give people an experience of what it means to be blind.

Through the Project Vision Rural campus in Tumkur district, about 10,000 people received support for cataract operations. Additionally, the organization supports 300 children with disabilities for their medical and social needs, including a daycare facility.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Project Vision launched an intervention called Mother’s Meal, which provided over 100,000 provision kits and served five million meals to the most affected groups of people, such as the disabled and wid. 

Mr. Ravishankar, a movement volunteer, presented the future vision of Hope and Project Vision. Various possibilities and opportunities to expand the services, using technology and innovations, were discussed with inputs from Dr Hareesh and the team. 

Mr. Ramu and Ms. Sheela from Smart Vision Glasses introduced the benefits of using their new product to help blind persons study and move. Ten such glasses were distributed during the program to visually challenged persons from various institutions for the blind across Karnataka. The cost of one Smart Vision glass is Rs. 30,000. 

During the program, Fr. George expressed his gratitude to the numerous individuals and organizations who have partnered with Hope and Project Vision over the years. Among them, Mr. Stanislaus D’Souza was recognized for his generous donation of ten acres of land in Kasapura, Tumkur Dt to support the works of Project Vision. The Vision Ambassadors, who worked hard to coordinate eye collections, were also honored during the event. Additionally, Mr. Michael and his wife Glory, who tirelessly promoted eye donations in Jaipur, Rajasthan, were recognized for their efforts. Mr. Michael is 90 years old. Fr Pradeep Correa, CMF, President of Hope Society, expressed gratitude for the attendees’ presence and support. He has been serving individuals affected by drug and alcohol addiction for over a decade. 

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