06/15/2016, 09.47
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Karnataka, parents of young Catholic killed in accident donate her eyes

by Nirmala Carvalho

The girl's name was Shwetha D'Souza and she was 22 years old. Her younger sister encouraged their parents so that "another person can see through her eyes." In India cornea donation is not widespread. Each year about 140 thousand people in need of a the transplant.


Mangalore (AsiaNews) - The family of Shwetha, a Catholic girl of 22, has decided to donate her eyes to allow another person to regain their sight. The young woman from Mangalore, in the State of Karnataka (southern part of India), died in a tragic accident while riding her bicycle. Her parents consented to the removal of organs after their youngest daughter said to the mother: "Please, give someone Shwetha’s eyes. This way she will see through another person's eyes".

On June 12 Shwetha D'Souza was involved in an accident in Bangalore, the state capital, and died in hospital the next day. Frank and Lethicia, her parents, told AsiaNews that the decision to donate the girl's eyes was not immediate. They were encouraged to do so by Kiran, their youngest daughter of 20.

Eye donation is not widespread in India, home to a third of the global visually impaired population (15 million blind people out of a total of 39). Most of them are poor and tribals living in precarious conditions because of illness. Every year 140 thousand people would need a cornea transplant, but the number of donors does not exceed 40 thousand. This means that 100 thousand patients are put on waiting lists.

Recently, a group of 60 Indian sisters promoted the initiative "The Vision Project", which aims to raise awareness on the issue of patients with vision problems. They are "vision ambassadors" and will donate their corneas when they die.

The choice of Shwetha's parents is a bold one. Fr Cyprian Pinto, pastor of St. Joseph the Worker Church in Mangalore, reports that the D'Souza family "is a Catholic family full of faith. It is a real grace that they, despite the deep pain and affliction, chose to donate her daughter's eyes. In this Year of Mercy, it is a great work of mercy. The terrible tragedy that has befallen this family has not discouraged them. The parents have given the gift of sight of their beloved daughter to another human being. "

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