India – why Bihar?
The best reason for continuing to focus on Bihar is the best reason for any NGO to be working in a specific area - because we know it so well. Back in the early 2000s our volunteer eye surgeons were at the forefront of eradicating blindness in the state; now we have a unique overview and a network of local ophthalmic teams who are doing their bit to end curable blindness and to provide a long-term safety net for the poorest. It is very heartening for us to see how they work in collaboration rather than in competition with each other.
This is what Bihar needs - poverty stats are still dreadful: over half the people live below the Government of India’s poverty line and child malnutrition is higher than in any country in the world. Blindness compounds poverty; eradication of blindness ameliorates it. True community hospitals, run by and for local people, are making the difference.