In this series of articles, we’ll be casting the spotlight upon a number of people around the world who are truly are inspiring youth.
These individuals are famous for a number of different reasons, but one consistency is that, despite their relative lack of years, they have stamped their mark upon issues that matter the most to them; turning them into global icons.
We can all learn a great deal from these individuals but as young people, we should look up to them not only in admiration for their work, but to feel empowered to say, “I can be like them”.
In this, the fourth piece of the series, we shine the empowering spotlight on… Yash Gupta
|IN THE SPOTLIGHT|
Name – Yash Gupta
Ages – 23
Nationality – American
Cause for Inspiration – Providing eyewear to students who need but can’t afford them.
As a freshman at Northwood High School at the age of 5, Yash Gupta became dependent on glasses from a very young age. One day, in a Taekwondo class his glasses broke, meaning he had to attend school without them for about a week.
For the first time, this truly opened his eyes to just how important eyewear was for him in everyday life and particularly the value of his glasses towards his education. Yash struggled to concentrate or learn at school giving him true appreciation for his glasses.
That week of Yash’s life had such a profound impact that he started to research. He was staggered to find that there were millions of children around the world who greatly needed, but lacked, a simple pair of glasses. Only made worse by the millions of pairs that are discarded annually.
Here are the facts:
- There are 100 million people around the world who need and use glasses on a daily basis.
- A further 700 million people who need glasses but cannot afford them.
- At least 13 million of these people are children of school age, unable to make the most of their right to education.
That is where Sight Learning comes in.
Yash’s entire family wear glasses and after searching his family home he found 10-15 pairs of old glasses just lying around. Glasses that could help 10-15 children improve their education. His next step was to approach local optometrists who agreed to lay out drop boxes for patients to discard used glasses when getting a new pair. The reaction to this was really positive, he found optometrists even had old stocks that had accumulated over the years that they didn’t know what to do with.
Officially founded in 2010, Sight Learning is a non-profit organization that collects and redistributes pairs of glasses to young people around the world. Not only to improve quality of life, but to give them a better opportunity to receive a quality education. Yash and his organisation have redistributed over 60,000 pairs of glasses in 5 countries including Mexico, Haiti, Honduras and India.
During the first 3 years Yash went on numerous trips to India and Mexico. Here he provided glasses and volunteered at eye clinics. He often said that being in the field was the best part of his work, seeing the joy that children get the first time they put on a pair of glasses. He was always sympathetic towards people who were struggling, having moved to the United States from India with his family at the age of 1, he was all too familiar with the challenge of adaptation.
Yash helped to fund his work by tutoring younger students when he was in high school, spending about 20 hours per week collecting and shipping glasses.
As an inspiring youth, young people across America contacted him and wanted to know how they could help. Having mainly worked internationally he then partnered with schools in 14 states. Further to this fundraising has also meant that $1,800,000 worth of eyewear has been donated to date.
Yash went on to study Business Administration at the University of Southern California and today works as an Associate at Boston Consulting Group in Los Angeles.
All the while Sight Learning continues to grow and provide more children with the eye care they need. He has had a lot of attention for his work having been honoured at a White House event hosted by Barack Obama, yet his humility has always remained. In an interview with CNN he said:
There’s a misconception in our generation, many of my friends are doing things to improve their communities. Kids are passionate and can make a difference. It’s just a matter of finding what you care about and focusing on that
Inspiration In Your World…
As well as sharing the stories of these inspiring youth, this series also intends to challenge you, the reader, to think how can we take, in this case, Yash’s example into our own lives?
- We can stand up for causes we believe in
- Allow a small idea to grow into a revolution
- Acknowledge equality; everyone has the right to quality education
- Use our voices to make a difference and be heard, age doesn’t matter
- Become a beacon for the youth of Nepal; what would your ‘broken glasses’ moment be?
To find out more about Yash Gupta, his story and how you can help, take a look at the following:
Sight Learning – https://sightlearning.com #sightlearning Sightlearning
Also in this series:
Claire Faulkner, UK
I’m in Nepal for 3 months on a career break, back in the UK, I worked as a Travel Consultant. I have a degree in Human Geography from Newcastle University. I love to travel (both in the UK and around the World)! My other hobbies include Running, Sports and the Outdoors.