Colombo: Two visually handicapped Bangladeshis have been given the gift of sight, thanks to the Sri Lanka Cricket Board donating 20 eyes to mark their country's achieving Test status.
The Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka (BCCSL) are sponsoring the donation of corneas as a goodwill gesture on Bangladesh hosting their first Test match, Anura Weerasinghe of the BCCSL said.
"The first two operations were performed in Bangladesh on Wednesday evening, soon after the first pair of eyes were sent over," Weerasignhe said. The BCCSL gave the Eye Donation Society of Sri Lanka (EDS) Rs 300,000 to meet the costs of retrieving the corneas from donors, sterilising them and paying for transport, Weerasinghe said. The BCCSL official said the Board was discussing with EDS the possibility of extending the programme.
"This is the first stage of a goodwill programme 'Vision for Everyone in 2005' that we want to start. We hope to be able to send eyes around the world to countries where our cricketers play," he added.
Weerasinghe said the BCCSL wanted to bring people whose eyesight was restored to watch cricket matches as part of the gesture. With the EDS actively promoting the BCCSL's sponsorship plan, Weerasinghe said visually handicapped people in Pakistan, Britain and South Africa would also benefit.
The EDS has won worldwide renown for its eye donation programme, which was started in the fifties and continues to attract donors in large numbers.