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Women’s Empowerment Initiative, Renowned Keynote Speaker Highlight CBI 2021 World Sight Day Event

Women’s Empowerment Initiative, Renowned Keynote Speaker Highlight CBI 2021 World Sight Day Event

The gift from the Madison Community Foundation and the Jaya G. Iyer Endowment will help CBI expand training that empowers young Indian women. 

Madison, Wis. October 6, 2021 – Combat Blindness International (CBI), a leading global eye health organization, is pleased to invite the general public — especially those who want to make a difference in the world — to its 2021 World Sight Day virtual event, at 6:30-7:15 p.m. CDT, on Thursday, October 14, 2021. Attendees can register in advance, and watch the live program on October 14th, at

This fast-paced, informative and fun celebration will feature CBI’s impact, news about the exciting new Aadya Initiative, and a fascinating interview with global health thought leader Kovin Naidoo.

The Aadya Initiative is a brand-new effort promoting eye care and women’s empowerment, stemming in part from the challenges of COVID. It is the product of a collaboration between CBI, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital (SCEH) in Delhi, India, and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater students who are members of Enactus, a global social entrepreneurship group.

The Aadya Initiative directly addresses the shortage of eye care technicians in low-income countries by recruiting, training and employing women to be vision screeners. In turn, these women go into remote areas to screen people who otherwise would have little to no access to eye care.

“They use mobile technology to bring eye care literally to the doorsteps of those without access,” says Reena Chandra Rajpal, executive director and president of Combat Blindness International.

Specifically, the screeners use a custom-built smartphone screening survey developed by UW-Whitewater Enactus and CBI that delivers real-time results. Glasses are dispensed on the spot to those who need them, while those requiring follow-up care are referred to vision centers and eye hospitals. At the heart of the initiative is a self-sustaining business model created by the UW-Whitewater Enactus students.

“Through innovation, creativity and collaboration with our remarkable partners, we feel the Aadya Initiative could change the shape of how we combat preventable blindness,” Reena adds. “Aadya is especially impactful for women and girls — the most vulnerable to vision loss.

CBI also is honored to have the renowned global health thought leader and change maker, Kovin Naidoo, share his valuable insights on the future of fighting blindness worldwide at CBI’s virtual event.

Kovin is the vice president of social impact at Essilor, a world leader in ophthalmic products.  During the program, he will focus on the growing global eye health crisis, and how organizations like CBI play a decisive role in eliminating preventable blindness globally.

“It is a time when society needs to step up wherever we can,” Kovin says. “Supporting the efforts of CBI, for example, we can actually make a big difference.”

World Sight Day is an annual day of awareness to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment. To increase support for its highly cost-effective cataract, pediatric and women’s empowerment programs, CBI will hold a virtual silent auction, featuring unique travel getaways, unique experiences, global handcrafts and more.

Additionally, CBI hopes to reach a $50,000 fundraising goal, including a generous matching gift made possible by Diane Ballweg, a longtime CBI supporter and community leader from Madison, Wis.

“We are deeply grateful to Diane, whose generosity has had a decisive and transformative impact on our mission,” says Reena. “Her strong support has given sight to thousands and has empowered women with technical training and employment through the Certified Ophthalmic Paramedic Program. Her kindness and compassion have touched so many lives.”

Visit for more details. Additionally, explore to learn more, donate or volunteer to help give sight to others in need.

Combat Blindness International (CBI) is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to eliminating preventable blindness worldwide by providing sustainable, equitable solutions for sight through partnerships and innovation. Since it was founded in 1984 by Dr. Suresh Chandra, CBI has supported projects in 17 countries on 4 continents. CBI is a council member of Vision 2020: Right to Sight – a global joint initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). 

CBI's 2021 World Sight Day Livestream Event

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