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Vision Friend Sakib Gore Breaks Ground on Revolutionary Social Research and Experience Center

Published: 22.05.2024
Samit Gore Director of Operations and Innovation
Vision Friend Sakib Gore

The Vision Friend Sakib Gore Social, Research, and Experience Center stands as a groundbreaking initiative poised to become the epicenter of eye health awareness in India for the Entire World. Spanning over 56,000 square feet Designed in Timeless Roman Architecture Situated in the Heart of Badlapur, Maharashtra. It represents a unique endeavour dedicated solely to raising awareness about curable blindness and refractive disorders. At the core of this project lies my unwavering commitment to eradicating these preventable conditions through education, experience, Art Exhibitions and innovation.

This centre is a pioneering force, setting itself apart as the only one of its kind in the world. It serves as a beacon of hope and knowledge, offering comprehensive resources and immersive experiences to the public. Through interactive exhibits, state-of-the-art technologies, and engaging educational programs, visitors gain a deeper understanding of eye health and the impact of curable blindness and refractive disorders.

But beyond being a physical space, the Vision Friend Sakib Gore Social, Research and Experience Center is a place of transformation.

It’s important to note that the centre is open to everyone, free of charge. I believe that access to knowledge, Awareness and resources should not be limited by financial barriers, and thus, the doors of the centre are open to all who wish to learn and contribute to our mission of creating a world where everyone has access to quality eye care.

At the Vision Friend Sakib Gore Social Research and Experience Center, visitors can engage in a variety of enlightening experiences designed to deepen their understanding of eye health and its impact on communities.

Visitors to the centre can explore a diverse range of offerings, Art Exhibitions and experiences, including:

1.World’s Largest Cataract Eye and Specs:

The cornerstone exhibit at our Vision Friend Sakib Gore Social, Research, and Experience Center is the “World’s Largest Cataract Eye and Specs.” This awe-inspiring Art exhibit serves as a focal point and is designed to capture attention, captivating visitors, sparking curiosity, while raising awareness about curable blindness and refractive disorders.

2. Simulation Rooms for Curable Blindness Experiences:

Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, these rooms will offer an immersive experience of visual impairments like cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy. Visitors will gain Awareness and firsthand insights into the challenges faced by individuals with these conditions.

3. AR, VR, and MR Technologies:

The integration of cutting-edge AR, VR, and MR technologies at our center is poised to revolutionize the way visitors engage with eye health awareness. By leveraging these advanced tools, we can captivate attention and offer interactive and educational experiences that make the topic of eye health more relatable and impactful.

4. Mini Theatre Showcasing Awareness Documentaries:

A dedicated space for screenings of our impactful documentary, “In Pursuit of Light.” This visual storytelling medium brings to life the struggles and triumphs of individuals dealing with curable blindness, creating a profound emotional connection.

5. Research Center with Library:

Committed to continuous improvement, our research centre focuses on studying and refining awareness strategies. The library provides valuable resources for scholars, researchers, and enthusiasts eager to contribute to the field.

6. War Room on Curable Blindness Initiatives:

A dynamic hub for strategizing and executing initiatives. This war room is dedicated to driving impactful campaigns, coordinating free cataract surgeries, and ensuring a swift and effective response to emerging challenges.

7.Nationwide Helpline Call Center:

Dedicated to providing assistance and guidance, our helpline call center connects individuals from all over India. Whether seeking advice on eye care or requiring assistance with various vision-related concerns, this resource aims to bridge gaps in accessibility and awareness on a nationwide level.

8. Statewide Coordination for Free Cataract Surgery:

In collaboration with government, semi-government, and NGO hospitals, our center facilitates access to free cataract surgery services across the state. Functioning as a centralized coordination point, we ensure comprehensive support and coordination within the Maharashtra state.

9. Vision Friend Eyewear Store:

The Vision Friend Eyewear Store stands as a testament to our commitment to accessibility and affordability in eye care. For over 32 Years, I’ve personally sourced eyeglasses directly from manufacturers and distributors, witnessing the growing demand for eyewear, particularly in urban areas. However, I also observed a troubling trend: inflated prices, where individuals profited by selling Subpar glasses at exorbitant rates. Specially After the Surge in demand post-COVID-19 Pandemic.

According to a report by Forbes, an astonishing 2.5 billion people who require glasses are without them, with 90% residing in the developing world. Many of them lack access to affordable eyewear due to the absence of local markets.

Motivated by a desire for fairness in eyewear access, I felt compelled to create India’s most affordable eyewear brand launched in 2023. Our mission is straightforward yet impactful: to ensure high-quality eyewear is within reach for everyone. Hence, we offer ready-to-wear reading glasses starting at just 9 rupees, equivalent to a mere 0.095 Swiss Francs. This initiative isn’t solely a business venture; it’s a social enterprise founded on the “buy one, gift one” model we not only aim for financial sustainability but also prioritize the welfare of underserved communities. It’s a testament to our commitment to creating positive social impact while ensuring the viability of our enterprise

Each purchase from our store serves as a catalyst for our mission, providing crucial funding for free eye testing and awareness initiatives across the nation. Moreover, for every customized pair of specs sold, we pledge to gift another to a person in need, bearing the name of the buyer. This dual impact ensures that with each transaction, we not only enhance the vision of our customers but also extend the gift of sight to individuals facing visual challenges, empowering them to face the world with newfound clarity and confidence.

At Vision Friend Eyewear, we go beyond transactions. We share the pictures of the buyer with the gifted specs and the receiver on our social media handles to generate awareness regarding vision disorders, fostering a community dedicated to improving eye health for all.

 10. Spectacle Recycling Project – 

We are committed to promoting sustainability and environmental consciousness. As part of this commitment, we have implemented a special initiative for recycling old spectacles. Collection boxes will be strategically placed within the Social Center, allowing anyone to contribute by dropping off their old spectacles for recycling. Additionally, we will extend this initiative to every Vision Friend Eyewear store, ensuring convenient access for individuals across different locations. This effort not only promotes recycling and waste reduction but also aligns with our vision of creating a more sustainable and eco-friendly future.

11. Vision Friend Restaurant –

At the heart of the Vision Friend Restaurant lies a transformative concept that blends culinary delight with social responsibility. As patrons indulge in delectable dishes, they become integral contributors to a larger mission of compassion and generosity. With every meal, a tangible impact is made as a pair of Reading specs is gifted to an individual in need, personalized with the name of the diner.

This innovative approach transcends traditional dining experiences. Beyond satisfying their culinary cravings, diners leave knowing that their meal has directly contributed to enhancing someone else’s quality of life. fostering a sense of purpose and fulfillment among guests.

Moreover, the Vision Friend Restaurant serves as a beacon of social enterprise, demonstrating how businesses can thrive while making a positive difference in society. Through this model, the restaurant not only nourishes bodies but also nurtures hearts, inspiring a ripple effect of kindness and compassion throughout the community. By embracing this unique dining experience, patrons not only savor exceptional cuisine but also become catalysts for meaningful change, one meal at a time.

12. Eyeconic Art Exhibit

A. Life-Size Tribal Home:

At the heart of our exhibit lies an immersive experience – a life-size replica of a tribal home. Crafted with cow dung and straw walls, and cow dung floorings, this authentic dwelling serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by tribal communities affected by curable blindness. Visitors can don our signature cataract simulation glasses and step into the shoes of a tribal with severe cataracts, navigating through the home’s narrow passages and feeling the struggle firsthand. Adorned with Warli art, this home symbolizes the transformation brought about by Vision Friend Sakib Gore in the lives of Adivasi villagers, turning darkness into light.

B. Larger-Than-Life Eye Models:

Towering at 6 feet tall, our larger-than-life eye models captivate visitors with their intricate details. Each model represents a different eye condition, from refractive disorders to glaucoma and retinopathy. Working models demonstrating the effects of blue light blocking further educate visitors on the importance of eye health. These striking displays serve as powerful tools for raising awareness about curable blindness and the need for early intervention.

C. “We See You” Art Exhibit:

Through before-and-after photos of our cataract patients, the “We See You” art exhibit celebrates the transformative impact of vision correction. Visitors witness real-life transformations, showcasing the journey from visual impairment to restored sight. This exhibit not only honors the resilience of those affected by curable blindness but also serves as a source of hope and inspiration for visitors and patients alike.

D. Hand-in-Hand Community Art Exhibit:

In the spirit of community collaboration, the “Hand in Hand” art exhibit shines a spotlight on individuals inspired by our mission to make a difference. Through photographs and narratives, we share the stories of visitors who have been moved to take action and contribute to social causes. From volunteering at local eye camps to advocating for accessible healthcare, these individuals exemplify the power of collective action in creating positive change.

E. Specs Museum:

 Explore the evolution of eyewear from its inception to modern designs. Witness the transformation of materials, styles, and production techniques through an extensive collection of historical specs. Videos showcasing the earliest methods of specs production will add depth to this immersive experience.

F. Cataract Surgery History:

Delve into the ancient roots of cataract surgery, dating back to 800 BC with detailed records from Sushrut Samhita, Uttar Tantra. Learn about early techniques like couching and the breakthroughs by pioneers like Jaques Daviel in 1747 with extracapsular cataract extraction (ECCE). Discover the advent of intraocular lenses (IOLs) and Sir Harold Ridley’s revolutionary IOL implantation in 1949, leading to significant advancements in cataract treatment.

By showcasing the journey from ancient practices to modern innovations, this museum encapsulates the remarkable progress and ongoing quest for clearer vision and eye health.

  1. Vision Friend Community Hall

A 5000-square-foot multipurpose space designed to serve both social and Event purposes. Embracing the ethos of social enterprise, this hall will be available for rent, catering to events ranging from weddings to corporate functions. The proceeds generated from these rentals will directly contribute to our mission of eradicating curable blindness and raising awareness about refractive disorders. Moreover, in line with our commitment to community engagement, the hall will be offered free of charge for organizing social cause events, ensuring accessibility for all. Additionally, it will serve as the venue for our social center events, fostering a sense of belonging and community spirit.

Each year, on World Sight Day, we will host the Love Your Eyes Festival, open to the public at no cost. Among the festival’s highlights will be an inter-school and inter-college art exhibit, where educational institutions showcase their artwork promoting awareness of refractive disorders and curable blindness. The winning institution will receive monetary prizes and certificates, and their work will be prominently featured in our annual art exhibit. Furthermore, the Vision Festival will feature the prestigious Vision Friend Emerging Social Worker Awards, a unique initiative aimed at recognizing and honoring young social workers. Unlike traditional awards that often focus on seasoned individuals, these awards seek to inspire and empower the younger generation to engage in social work from an early age. Open to two age categories—14 to 18 years and 18 to 25 years—the awards will not only celebrate their efforts but also provide financial support to encourage their continued dedication to social causes.

By instilling the values of empathy and community service at a young age, I aspire to create a future where selflessness and compassion thrive, paving the way for a more equitable and sustainable society.