In a given day, there is an estimated 134 million children up to 5 years of age in the developing world that are vitamin A deficient. Of those children, up to one-half million will lose their sight. And all it takes to save a child from going blind from vitamin A deficiency is twenty-five cents.
This year, at Vitamin Angels' Celebration of Angels, the makers of the original Tulsi Teas, Organic India, announced plans to donate 25 cents of every product purchased throughout the entire fourth quarter of 2009 to Vitamin Angels' "Operation 20/20" campaign. This pledge will generate over $125,000 to save more than 500,000 children from going blind.
"Vitamin A deficiency does its worst damage during childhood and is a major contributor to child mortality and illness. The most commonly known effect of vitamin A deficiency is blindness," says Howard Schiffer, founder of Vitamin Angels, a nonprofit that has been providing vital nutrition and fighting vitamin A deficiency around the world for over 14 years. "Organic India's support will literally mean a better life for hundreds of thousands of children around the world."
But even before blindness occurs, vitamin A-deficient children are at risk of dying from infectious diseases such as measles, diarrhea and malaria. Vitamin A deficiency is widespread in many developing countries. A shortage of vitamin A also weakens these children's immune systems and lessens their resistance to disease. As a result, supplementation of vitamin A-deficient populations can increase child survival rates by as much as 23 percent.
"In many ways, Vitamin Angels and Organic India were founded on the same humanitarian principles," says Ken Vickerstaff, chief executive officer of Organic India. "Even in these times of economic strife giving to charitable institutions like Vitamin Angels is a must. And I can think of no better cause than the world's greatest assets, our children."
Over 10 years ago, Organic India was created to help perpetuate organic agriculture in India and save rural farmers' lives. Each year in India over 15,000 farmers take their own lives when they can't make a living from conventional farming. Today, Organic India has helped to create over 500,000 acres of organic agriculture in India and was also, recently awarded an Organic Growers Grant from the Minister of Agriculture in India.
The goal of Vitamin Angels' "Operation 20/20" campaign is to eradicate childhood blindness caused by Vitamin A deficiency by the year 2020. Last year, Vitamin Angels distributed vitamins and other supplements to reach over 7 million children in 40 countries worldwide. To learn more visit: www.VitaminAngels.org or www.OrganicIndiaUSA.com.
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