Cherelyn Victor from North Finchley has just returned home from a sight-saving assignment, having swapped her daily commute to the Hospital of St Johns and Elizabeth, where she works as a theatre practitioner and anaesthetic recovery nurse, for the bustle of Kolkata.
As a medical volunteer for ORBIS (www.orbis.org.uk), an international sight saving charity, Cherelyn taught local doctors vital skills for treating ophthalmic conditions that are common to the area and have robbed the community of a brighter future.
The issue of preventable blindness has reached staggering proportions. 39 million people in the world are blind but 80% could be treated or cured. 90% of these people are in developing countries where eye care facilities are often limited.
Simple, cheap and quick operations like that of removing a cataract can save a person from losing their livelihood, independence and stop them becoming a burden to their family. But the skill and equipment needed to help are often lacking in the places where they are most at need. ORBIS works tirelessly to change this situation and over the years has helped to further educate 262,000 medical professionals.
Cherelyn volunteered with the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital, a plane which hosts a fully equipped operating theatre and laser suite, with dedicated teaching facilities on-board. Through their missions and training, ORBIS has to date helped to provide 23 million treatments in 92 countries.
Cherelyn used her annual leave to take part in this trip, which was her first time volunteering with the charity.
Cherelyn Victor says; “My time in Kolkata was an immensely rewarding and humbling experience. It made me realise how much we take for granted and how privileged we are. Volunteering with ORBIS means we are improving eye care services for generations to come by training the local medical teams in up to date medical techniques. So not only does the charity treat patients but it also tutors the local doctors and nurses, resulting in real long term improvements.
“Helping and teaching others goes a long way to bringing change to the lives of many. The feeling of accomplishment and joy through helping others could at times be quite overwhelming. A patient was so grateful; once she had recovered she got down on the floor and kissed my feet. It was extremely moving and something I was completely unprepared for.
It was an honour and pleasure to be able to volunteer with ORBIS. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life and one I cannot wait to do again.”
For information on ORBIS or further images, please contact Natasha Lee, Communications Officer on 020 7608 7284 or Nlee@orbis.org.uk
Notes to Editor:
ORBIS provides the tools, training and technology necessary for local hospitals to develop workable and lasting solutions to fight the tragedy of unnecessary blindness.
By building their long-term capabilities, ORBIS helps its partner institutions take action - to reach a state where they can provide, on their own, quality eye care services that are affordable, accessible and sustainable.
To learn more about ORBIS, please visit www.orbis.org.uk