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Young Volunteer Approved for Girls Scouts Gold Award Project, Helps Give Gift of Sight

Samiya Ijaz, a 16 year-old student at Pacific Ridge School and a resident of San Diego, is helping put humanity first through her volunteering with the Girl Scouts of America. She began wearing glasses at a young age, and soon realized that while she is able to correct her vision problem with eyeglasses, there are many people in the world who cannot remedy their temporary blindness so easily.

Samiya has been a Girl Scout for several years and has always been a dedicated and active troop member. In 2009, she completed the Girl Scout Silver Award, and in October 2010, she completed the GirlTopia – Toward an Ideal World for Girls journey. She created the “Eyewear For All” project for receiving the Girl Scout Gold Award, which will be awarded after successful completion of the project. Her educational program was one of the few that was selected for Girl Scout Gold Award.

“There is an extreme lack of awareness among people like me who wear glasses. We can benefit others who cannot see, only because they have no access to glasses. I am certain that many households have eyewear that could be put to good use by others. Many around the world are at a health and economic disadvantage because of correctable visual impairment. So, my goal is educating and informing audiences primarily here in San Diego, California and potentially throughout Southern California,” says Samiya.

Not only will the “Eyewear for All” project create awareness about the lack of basic eye care in underserved communities, but Samiya will also be collecting eyewear. Along with the presentations and literature Samiya will share in her local community, she plans to leave donation boxes for recycled eyewear at each site she visits. She is collaborating with Lion’s Club International and Humanity First’s Gift of Sight team to have the eyewear delivered to underserved communities in Central America and Africa.

Humanity First USA’s Gift of Sight team travels to Guatemala each year to perform cataract surgeries and provide full eye exams to patients in rural communities. With Samiya’s help, the team will be able to provide the Gift of Sight to even more deserving individuals through her collection of eyewear.Dr. Ahsan Khan, Director of the Gift of Sight program, will serve as the mentor for Samiya's project.  He states, "Samiya is an exceptionally bright and motivated young talent.  We look forward to seeing the fruits of this well-conceived and inspirational project.”

Samiya’s compassion and desire to help others is an inspiring example that proves there are no limits or guidelines to helping humanity and giving the gift of sight.

If you would like to donate recycled eyewear to Samiya's project, please ship to:

Eyewear For All Project
7576 Trade Street
San Diego, CA 92121o

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Humanity First is registered in 43 countries across 6 continents, and has been working on human development projects and responding to disasters since 1994. These have included the earthquakes in Turkey, Pakistan, Japan and Iran, floods in Africa and Latin America, hurricanes (Katrina and Rita) , tornado's (Kansas) and wild fires (California) in the USA, Indonesia and Bangladesh, and conflicts in Eastern Europe.

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Since its inception and IRS registration in 2004, Humanity First has been focused on spending most of the raised funds on direct program related expenses. As a result, more than 90% of its funds are in that expense category. This is achieved through dedicated volunteers in its management, and program operation teams.

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