India is truly unique in its diversity, and its villages exemplify this fact.
It is possibly the only country in this world where you will find a village where no one wears footwear, or one that celebrates the birth of every girl child, and even one that has an unusually high number of twins!
But today, we would like to draw your attention to Madathattuvilai, a quaint little village in the Kanyakumari district that is engaged in a rather heartwarming pursuit.
As many as 229 residents of Madathattuvilai have donated their eyes in last one decade—making the village a trailblazer among cities and towns across the country.
When someone passes away in this village, the first thing that the family of the deceased does is to get in touch with the priest of the local church.
Following this, the youth group of the church reaches out to the family and helps them with the process of eye donation. It even facilitates the speedy retrieval of the organ by a medical team from Tirunelveli.
Interestingly, in the beginning, the villagers were not exactly keen on the idea.
“Most elders did not want to donate eyes as they feared that they would not be able to see God in their afterlife,” said the then youth group president of the church, F X Aruno Xavier to Times of India.
In 2004, in an effort to help the villagers understand its importance, the youth group decided to work on raising awareness about the act.
They were supported by the parish priests of St Sebastian Church, who would extensively talk about the importance of eye donation in their sermons.
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These sessions undoubtedly had a profound impact because three years later, in 2007, the first ever eye donation took place in the village. Later, in the same year, close to 1,500 individuals, mostly youngsters, enrolled for eye donation.
The first donation was followed by eight more, and that was just the beginning. Today, every single house in Madathattuvilai has at least one enrolled donor.
By not letting grief cloud their judgement, each resident of the village—from a 14-year-old in 2015 to a 97-year-old lady in 2017—is setting a remarkable example of compassion and bringing light into the lives of the visually impaired.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)