February 11, 2022 – We are proud to announce that Operation Eyesight employee Sharon Panackal has been named one of the Alberta Council for Global Cooperation’s Top 30 Under 30 award recipients.
Sharon started working with the Operation Eyesight communications team in Calgary three years ago. Since then, she has carved out a unique role for herself by tackling all aspects of communications, from social media and website coding to graphic design and video production.
“Whatever we needed for the team,” she says, “I just started doing it.”
Today, Sharon works as the Digital Marketing Specialist. Through her work, she contributes to educating young women from underserved communities on the importance of eye health and helps create access to quality eye care services.
Growing up in a village in Kerala, one of India’s southernmost states, Sharon says she didn’t always have big career ambitions.
“When I graduated from high school at the age of 17,” she says, “all I wanted was to become this ideal mother and obedient wife.”
Everything changed for Sharon when she went off to the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree. As she learned more about gender roles and feminism, her frame of reference transformed.
“It was like my eyes were opened,” she says. “Although Kerala is one of the most literate states in India, the situation for women hasn’t changed much.”
After earning a Master of Arts in the United Kingdom and working her way throughout India before coming to Canada, Sharon often wonders how she might have fared if she had been affected by poor eyesight or blindness.
“All the opportunities, I have had… I wouldn’t have had any of that if I didn’t have eyesight,” she says. “Losing eyesight can restrict our lives so much.”
She adds that she is proud to be among the 30 recipients of this year’s award, and that she’s inspired by those working in their own communities.
“I’m glad that although I’m so far away, through our projects, I’m still able to support our hospitals in India and especially in Kerala.”
To learn more about Sharon and the 2022 Top 30 Under 30 cohort, visit https://top30under30.acgc.ca/recipients/2022-recipients/