Seven-month-old Devprasannaraju of Andhra Pradesh, India, could have been like most children his age – only he wasn’t. At only five months old, a pronounced white spot was visible in both his eyes and he was diagnosed with congenital cataracts.
After much persuasion, the parents took the baby to Sankara Eye Hospital where immediate surgery was advised for the baby to be even able to perceive light. After ascertaining the economic background of the family, free surgery was offered under the ORBIS-Sankara Pediatric Ophthalmology project. A very emotional Rani, the mother of Devprasannaraju, says, “For the first time he noticed the fan rotating above him and chuckled with glee. For the first time, my son has started to hold his own milk bottle and drink milk.”
What Does SEF Do?
Founded in 1977, by Dr Ramani Ramanathan and his wife Dr Radha Ramani, what was then known as the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Centre, has now blossomed into 13 super specialty eye care hospitals across various states in India.
Sankara Eye Foundation (SEF) in India has blessed this little boy and many more like him with the gift of vision. SEF boasts of a team of renowned eye surgeons from across the globe who have one vision – Vision 2020, which aims to eradicate curable blindness in India by year 2020. The key task in achieving this vision is to ensure the most advanced and top quality care at absolutely no cost.
How Do They Achieve This?
SEF functions on a unique 80:20 ratio model wherein 80% of the beneficiaries are the underprivileged who receive totally free eye care and the other 20% are the patients who can afford to pay for treatment, thereby subsidizing the free services. To date, SEF has a whopping 1.2 million free eye surgeries under its kitty.
Community Outreach – Gift of Vision
SEF does active community outreach to reach out to the remote parts of the country to ensure maximum coverage and most beneficiaries. The oldest community outreach programme which was started in 1990 is called the Gift of Vision. Under the Gift of Vision programme, the following process takes place:
The patients are meticulously and systematically followed up after, to assess the overall impact of the surgery on their lifestyle and socio-economic condition.
In the 22nd year of its being, the Gift of Vision is now being offered by Sankara in the states of Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand, specifically targeting economically and socially weaker sections.
Sankara Eye Society (Singapore) – How You can Help
After the strong and steady support received from the US and Europe arms of Sankara, SEF has recently set foot in Singapore as Sankara Eye Society (Singapore) registered with the Registrar of Societies (UEN:T14SS0135F). SESS’ objectives are to raise funds to support the community eye care activities of SEF India and to create awareness amongst people on eye care in Singapore.