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At 15, three Kerala students are lighting up lives of blind people through their social startup

(From left to right) Prarthana A Anup, Vandana Srinivasan and S Netraa.

Three young students from Kochi in Kerala are into a major social mission to bring light into the lives of the blind people in the country. Vandana Srinivasan, Prarthana A Anup, and S Netraa have been conducting a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of eye donation by developing a digital interface through which anyone can pledge their eyes for donation just by sending an SMS.

The three plus one students of Bhavan’s Vidya Mandir, Girinagar have also founded a not-for-profit social startup, Chasindreams, to undertake their social welfare project to make more people pledge their eyes to help the visually impaired.

It all began during the Covid period when Vandana started drawing pictures conveying socially-relevant messages on special days like World Heart Day and Cancer Awareness Day. “I drew a painting on the occasion of World Braille Day and presented it to a hospital. The doctors at the hospital briefed me about the importance of eye donation and why people should donate eyes. Their talk inspired me and made me seriously think about launching a mission to raise awareness about eye donation and motivate people to pledge their eyes,” Vandana told “Open Digest“.

When she shared her idea with her two friends, they too rallied behind her, and they together founded the social startup “Chasindreams” on August 15, 2023. “Initially, we did some on-ground campaigns at the Kerala High Court and in an apartment in Kochi. Over 500 people registered with us, pledging to donate their eyes. This motivated us to introduce a digital interface through which anyone can pledge to donate their eyes using their mobile phone,” Vandana said.

One needs to send an SMS to the number 7039670396 to register for eye donation, and the sender will receive a link on their mobile phone to download the certificate. The SMS should be in the format Vision (space) Name (space) Location.

“We are getting good responses from people. There is a huge gap between the demand and supply of corneas. Over 16 lakh blind people are waiting for corneas . If we could make more people pledge their eyes, it will benefit thousands of visually-impaired people,” she said. Vandana and her friends hope to sign up one lakh people through their campaigns in the coming days.

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