Vice-Chancellor of Bharathiar University G. Thiruvasagam (left) placing an eye donation pledge certificate of the Principal District and Sessions Judge G. Chockalingam and his family members at the latter’s residence in Coimbatore on Monday as part of "Vizhi Koduthu Oli Koduppom" programme. The judge (second right) and his wife are in the picture.
National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers of Bharathiar University and its affiliated colleges have made another community service project of the university a success by exceeding the target. The third consecutive project of the university, “Vizhi Koduthu Oli Koduppom”, after the “Kaitharikku Kai Koduppom” in 2008 and “Padithathai Piraruku Padikka Koduppom” in 2007, implemented on Republic Day, has once again proved the strength of student power.
The university had fixed a target of collecting one lakh eye donation pledges. The project was to be implemented in three stages. First was the stage of creating awareness among the public, the second getting signatures on the pledge certificates and the third and final stage was to present the donor with a laminated version of the pledge on Republic Day, to be hung in the living room of the house. Monday saw the volunteers going from house-to-house to present the eye donors with laminated certificates of their pledge.
P. Hemalatha and J. Jennifer of Nirmala College for Women were a sample of the contented lot who had collected the pledges. “Though we initially started off with some hesitation, the positive response from the first few gave us courage and motivated us to approach those who were unwilling to pledge (out of fear of disfigurement) with no difficulty,” they said after hanging the pledge in the living room of M. Irudayaraj, a resident of Puliakulam. There were four donors from his family.
Vice-Chancellor G. Thiruvasagam too visited a few homes and personally hung the certificates in their living rooms. While visiting the home of G. Chockalingam, Principal District and Sessions Judge, whose entire family had pledged eyes, a suggestion was made by the Judge to the Vice-Chancellor that a common telephone number be identified for the State to enable those on transferable jobs to contact their nearest Government eye bank.
The Vice-Chancellor told The Hindu that owing to the overwhelming response of the public, the university decided to continue the project with support from the Lions Club International. A.S. Ravichandran, Lions District Governor, said the club had been trying to motivate people to pledge their eyes for a long time. “But, students have achieved this in a very short time and the results are there for all to see. More than 60,000 died in India everyday. If all their eyes are used, the four million people who are visually impaired will be able to get their sight restored within a week.”
There were many interesting stories about the reaction of people to the campaign. While some students said it was easy to convince the educated, there were a few others who said otherwise. True to this, the donors were from all walks of life. Those with minor ailments, who did not know that they also could donate, too pledged their eyes, thanks to the awareness caused by students.
Among those who had pledged their eyes were the 80-odd inmates of the Missionaries of Charity.