Africa and Asia: Volunteer Service
Please forward widely. Currently accepting applications for 2008 and 2009.
Unite For Sight Volunteer Abroad Opportunities: As Featured Weekly On CNN International and Recently in The New York Times
Volunteer Abroad in Summer, Fall, Winter, or Spring: http://www.uniteforsight.org/intl_volunteer
WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF VOLUNTEERS LIKE YOU, UNITE FOR SIGHT RESTORED SIGHT TO 10,062 PATIENTS AND PROVIDED EYE CARE TO 300,000 IN 2006 AND 2007
How Do I Apply? The application as well as complete details about Unite For Sight's international opportunities are available at http://www.uniteforsight.org/intl_volunteer/
Who Is Eligible To Volunteer Abroad?: Volunteers are 18 years and older, and there is no upper age limit. Volunteers range from undergraduate/college students to medical and optometry students, public health students and professionals, business students, filmmakers and photographers, nurses and nursing students, social workers, physician's assistants, teachers and educators, opticians, optometrists and ophthalmologists.
Unite For Sight welcomes volunteers who may not have previous health or eye care experience. Volunteers receive all necessary training from Unite For Sight so that they are able to assist eye doctors with community eye outreach programs. Unite For Sight also welcomes volunteers to participate as photographers and filmmakers.
What is Unite For Sight's Mission? Unite For Sight is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers communities worldwide to improve eye health and eliminate preventable blindness.
Unite For Sight's work to prevent blindness and restore sight is featured weekly on CNN INTERNATIONAL from September 2007-August 2008.
What Do Volunteers Do?: Volunteers receive hands-on clinical experience while assisting doctors in remote, rural villages. Volunteers learn about international health and eye care, learn clinical skills while working with patients and doctors, and, in one program location, have an opportunity to practice cataract surgery on a goat's eye.
The goal of Unite For Sight and its partner eye clinics and communities is to create eye disease-free communities. Unite For Sight’s volunteers (local and visiting) work with partner eye clinics to provide eye care in communities without previous access. The eye clinic’s eye doctors and Unite For Sight volunteers jointly provide community-based screening programs in rural villages. The clinic’s eye doctors diagnose and treat eye disease in the field, and surgical patients are brought to the eye clinic for surgery. Patients receive free surgery funded by Unite For Sight so that no patient remains blind due to lack of funds. Volunteers immediately see the joy on patients' faces when their sight is restored after years of blindness. These memories last a lifetime.
While helping the community, volunteers are in a position to witness and draw their own conclusions about the failures and inequities of global health systems. It broadens their view of what works, and what role they can have to insure a health system that works for everyone and that leaves no person blind in the future.
What Do Volunteers Say?:
“During my volunteering experience, I realized that Unite for Sight’s service is a campaign for the salvation of humanity that allows the light of compassion to shine through each of us. I believe it is this display of altruism and commitment that makes the organization’s service so virtuous and treasured by both volunteers and patients. After all, making a difference in the world is not so difficult if only one would care enough to sacrifice a part of oneself in order to change the world for the better. My experience as a Unite for Sight volunteer has inspired me to dedicate my future career to serving underprivileged communities around the world.”—Chiwing “Jessica” Qu, Yale University Undergraduate Student, Unite For Sight Volunteer in Chennai, India
"I can honestly say that everything I learned in 3 years of medical school paled in comparison to the 3 week experience I had in Accra (Ghana) in October 2007 as part of Unite For Sight. The program provides volunteers with a unique and hands-on involvement – being able to help out to the level of your training and comfort. My experience taught me that Ghanaian people are the friendliest people I have interacted with anywhere in the world, that ordinary people involved with Unite For Sight are making extraordinary differences, and that sitting in a classroom receiving a world-class education cannot match real life experiences while volunteering."--Varun Verma, UMDNJ Medical Student, Unite For Sight Volunteer in Accra, Ghana
"While in Ghana, I worked with an ophthalmologist (Dr. James Clarke), two eye nurses (Robert Dolo, Kartee Karloweah), an assistant (Bismark Boryor), and a coordinator (Seth). Working with the Unite for Sight team on these outreaches in service to these wonderful people of Ghana was the single most rewarding work I've done in my life. The people of Ghana are some of the friendliest and most thankful of anyone I have ever met. Overall, the experience has changed the way I view the world, my own country, and my role in the world forever. The only way to understand the way 4/5 of the world lives is to go yourself and get involved. The staff I worked with that are the heart and soul of Unite for Sight in Accra were some of the brightest and hard working individuals I have ever met. They are accomplishing feats few ever accomplish in their lives, and I am truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work with them and now call them my friends. I look forward to future work with Unite for Sight as an Ophthalmologist. The task at hand in Ghana, and I'm sure in all of Unite for Sight's locations throughout the world, is enormous. The more people that get involved, the more accessible services will be to these wonderful people. Plain and simple, the more we help, the more people can see the world they live in!”—Brian Fowler, Medical Student at University of Virginia, Unite For Sight Volunteer in Accra, Ghana
Hundreds of volunteer narratives, volunteer diaries, as well as videos of alumni volunteers and partner eye doctors are available on the Unite For Sight website: http://www.uniteforsight.org/intl_volunteer
Also, Unite For Sight's Fifth Annual International Health Conference is coming up at Yale on April 12-13, 2008. Keynote addresses by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, Dr. Sonia Sachs, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, Dr. Allan Rosenfield, and Dr. Susan Blumenthal. Plus 180 Speakers and 2,000+ conference attendees. Register for the conference at http://www.uniteforsight.org/conference