There are an estimated 15 million people in India who are visually impaired -- which equates to roughly one out of every three blind people in the world. In 1988, a blind lawyer from India came to visit Dr. Manu Vora, an ASQ Fellow, and presented those statistics. Since 80 percent of blindness is curable or preventable, Vora knew immediately that he wanted to help. Along with five colleagues from AT&T Bell Laboratories, Vora formed the Blind Foundation for India (BFI) in 1989. As president and founding director of BFI, Vora exemplifies Quality for Life through his passion and commitment to fighting blindness in India.
Working with limited resources, Vora implemented the concepts of Deming's "plan, do, study, act" model (PDSA) at BFI. As a result, from January 1991 through December 2008, BFI raised more than $3.5 million to help the visually impaired in India. They have restored sight to about 90,000 people and have provided measles vaccinations and vitamin A to approximately 90,000 children.
"The quality discipline has helped us manage the foundation from the beginning," said Vora. "By implementing the PDSA model at BFI, we were able to hit the ground running."
As part of the planning process, Vora established a donor database of about 28,000 people using community directories. He chose a small sample list from the initial database and sent those individuals an informational flyer to gauge their responses. After receiving positive feedback, the plan was modified and the scope for future mailings was expanded to include the entire BFI database.
Since it is important to engage donors without overburdening them, Vora achieves effective communication by distributing just one flyer per year. The flyer -- a culmination of work done by volunteers -- provides an update on the progress made by BFI and describes current activities. Even with the amazing results achieved through BFI, Vora understands there is much more work to do.
"The rate of blindness continues to increase in India, but we made the larger, systemic issues more manageable," concludes Vora. "There is a saying we have in India, 'Each and every drop eventually becomes an ocean.'"
If you have a story about how you used your passion for quality to make a difference in people's lives, we'd like to hear from you as part of our Quality for Life initiative. Please submit stories to email@example.com. Also, be sure to visit our blog at http://www4.asq.org/blogs/quality-life/.
To learn more about the Blind Foundation for India, please visit http://www.blindfoundation.org.