Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls visits Delhi’s Dr. Shroff Charity Eye Hospital

New Delhi, Oct.13 (ANI): Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls, Ms Natasha Stott Despoja, visited the Dr. Shroff Charity Eye Hospital in Daryaganj this afternoon. Ambassador Stott Despoja handed over a cheque of AUD 23000 to Mr Arun Arora, CEO of Dr.Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, and his team, under the Australian High Commission’s Direct Aid Program.

Ambassador Stott Despoja, who arrived at the hospital in a women-driven taxi service Fleur Cabs run by NGO Tanrey, happily posed for pictures with the driver.

While handing over the cheque, Ambassador Stott Despoja said “It’s very exciting to be here today not only to celebrate girl power and these wonderful educational and employment opportunities, for these young women, but also to celebrate the work of this hospital. It gives me great pleasure today to present to you some funds from the DAP program from the Australian High Commission in Delhi. I have a cheque for 23 thousand dollars which will go towards the building of the computer lab in order to facilitate the training of 50 ophthalmic paramedics.”

Ms Sunita Arora – Head, Training Paramedics, introduced the program and said, “This is a women’s empowerment program. These girls come from the bottom of the pyramid in the economy, and they come from far off places. Some of the girls have not had much opportunity and we see in our country -ophthalmic paramedics are very less and there is a skill deficit. So these girls by joining this course are able to find an opportunity to do something and do it themselves. They feel this course has given them a direction and a purpose in life.”

The funding would be used to establish a computer centre to train 50 young women annually as certified ophthalmic paramedics. Introducing a computer-based component to the hospital’s ophthalmic paramedic training will improve the quality and comprehensiveness of the training program and enhance the women’s employability at its completion. Following the two-year training program, the women are encouraged to take up permanent positions in Dr Shroff’s hospitals and vision centres. To date, Dr Shroff’s has trained 72 young women through this program as ophthalmic paramedics.

The Direct Aid Program (DAP) provides small grants for activities that support development and strengthen communities in India and Bhutan. Over the past decade, DAP has built linkages and fostered relationships between Australia and these communities.

Established in 1914, Dr Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital caters to the eye care needs of India’s underprivileged sectors. It operates on a cross-subsidy model, where approximately 60 percent of underprivileged patients receive eye care treatment free of cost. Dr Shroff’s operates its base hospital in Delhi along with three secondary hospitals and 16 vision centres in Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. (ANI)

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