Born and raised in Tanzania, East Africa, educated in Asia, and having extensively travelled to more than 65 countries, Nizar Mamdani is CEO of First Sight. Nizar understands first-hand, the acute need for low-tech, readily available and affordable, corrective eye care solutions in many parts of the world. Nizar has worked in East Africa, the Middle East and Japan. For the past 15 years he is with The Nebraska Medical Center/University of Nebraska Medical Center as an Executive Director for International Healthcare programs. He is acutely aware of the consequences of poor vision. As Nizar and his wife, Dr. Marsha Mamdani, (Ph D – Education) travelled around the world, they saw a tremendous need for effective solutions to provide eye glasses for children and adults.
When they visited schools, they often saw children sitting at the back of their classroom, not paying much attention to the lessons (In many countries, not much information is handed out to the students and most of their lessons are written on blackboards). In reality, for most such children, their issue was not their lack of desire or the ability to learn, but rather their inability to clearly see the blackboard or the materials. This is indeed a dilemma because these children can’t keep up with the class. Because of this, these children endure isolation and are often unjustly grouped as having attention deficit disorder, dyslexia or other impairments. In fact, many times their only problem is not having good vision. Eventually, these students drop out of school and become a burden on their families and societies. Their uncorrected poor eyesight often have a life-long impact on them and upon their families.
Adults who have poor eye sight also suffer unpleasant consequences. Often, they have to give up their work or cannot be as successful at the job because their work requires them to have good eyesight. Such adults are less productive, can no longer hold on to their jobs or to earn a living to support their families. Again, they often put a strain on their families and the societies in which they live.
With these facts in mind, Nizar, Marsha and their friend decided to find a practical and affordable solution to help provide eyeglasses for needy people. First Sight was organized to provide a practical, simple, low tech and cost-effective process for eye examination and eye glasses for millions of children and adults suffering with poor vision.
First Sight provides an immediate impact – recipients are given a vision screening test on the spot (and in any location) and can happily walk away with a pair of customized eyeglasses in 15 minutes! Nizar and Marsha’s vision is to provide improved eyesight to millions of people and make it possible for children to go to school and adults to enjoy productive lives immediately. When people are empowered to have good eyesight, they are transformed and can often start leading healthy and productive lives.