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News 13 Charity Challenge
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Vision Express

Updated: Thursday, October 24 2013, 03:02 PM EDT
News 13 continues our challenge to help give back. Our morning anchors are spotlighting 3 local charities every month. Voting is now open on our WLOS Facebook page, so you can decide which one will win a $1,000.
Last week, we told you about Friends of the Parkway. The volunteer group helps with maintenance and clean-up to keep the scenic by-way beautiful after the government cut funding.

Two weeks ago we told you about Girls on the Run. The group empowers young girls by building confidence and getting them in shape at the same time.

Our last charity in the running this month is Vision Express, which helps women in India get cataract surgery.

"I think we'll go to some new villages this time," says Rakesh Agarwal. He isn't talking about buying merchandise for his store, Rug and Home, but rather improving the lives of women in India with vision loss.

It is a cause Carol Talbot embraces. She says, "being blind is horrible to imagine, and these women we are helping are blind or very close to blind." A charity founded locally only 2 years ago, Vision Express raises money to pay for cataract surgeries in women often in their 30s and 40s. The women, typically depressed financially and socially, live near the Ganges River.

Agarwal says, "this is an area in India where women are still given second-rate treatment, second-rate preference to healthcare." But, a first-rate partnership with doctors volunteering time and a hospital providing equipment at low cost, is working.

Talbot says they've already completed over 600 surgeries and there are 2,000 more in the scheduling process for early next year. Agarwal says this is one surgery where it makes an immediate difference to a person's life.

Winning the Charity Challenge would be a bigger victory half a world away than for Vision Express locally.

Talbot says with $1,000 they can do 40 cataract surgeries, and that would give 40 women one eye repaired, or 20 women both eyes repaired.

Agarwal says, "imagine, we have changed a life; this person who wasn't able to work in the fields and the family farm, or in the kitchen, take care of the family, all of a sudden we do this cataract surgery, they are back on their feet and able to be productive members of the family."

To find out more about Vision Express, click here.

Voting is now open and you have until Wednesday at noon to pick which charity you think deserves the $1,000 prize from Bryan Easler Toyota.

Click here to vote. Be sure to tune in next Monday, to see the winner accept the prize live in studio.Vision Express

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