Rotarians John and Fiona Miles completed an extemely enjoyable 7 ½ month ‘trip of a lifetime’ world tour at the end of June 2009.
Towards the end of their tour they stopped over in Kolkata primarily to see for themselves the eight hospitals and eye centres which Rotarians have so far created specifically to serve the poor in and around the former capital of India.
Their visit was inspired by the pioneering work which Dr Sam Das of Guildford Rotary Club and others in India have undertaken in the last 12 years to meet the needs of the avoidably blind.
There are 40 million people worldwide who suffer from ‘’avoidable blindness’’ ie blindness which can be cured by simple medical procedures, but due to the victims poverty cannot be afforded. Of this 40 Million, 12 million are in India, 2 million being in the Kolkata area.
With the aid of sympathetic eye surgeons and the help of Rotarians an eye operation can now be funded for just £15*. Via this project 10’s of thousands of operations have so far been carried out, but alas the need remains as great as ever.
In additional to the funding of operations, there is also a need for equipment, such as microscopes to expand the various facilities and to start new ones. The patients, being poor, cannot provide a relative to escort them to the clinic for examination or to the hospital for an operation as the relative cannot afford to lose pay. There is therefore a real need for small buses which can transport patients to and from these facilities. The aim of the charity is to make the various centres eventually self funding by attracting local, less poor patients to pay the full price for operations.
The UK branch of this charity is the Guildford Rotary Club Eye Project which strives to be the primary fundraiser for operations, equipment and Eye Buses, as well as the training of Indian surgeons in the procedures required. Whilst at present the charity is concentrating its efforts in India, its ambition is to set up facilities in Africa and in other parts of the world.
In recent years the aim in India has been to set up ‘local satellite’ clinics where assessment can be carried out for patients living further afield. This satellite clinic system is gradually being installed as funding becomes available. The equipment needed being much simpler and cheaper than that needed for operations. The innovation of local satellite clinics as a referral system is similar in concept to the way UK GP’s refer patients to hospitals only after carrying out their own initial examination. The workload of the operating hospitals is therefore more streamlined as a result.
‘’As the world population continues to explode unabated, so the number of people living on or below the poverty line increases. While there are many splendid organisations who attempt to serve this need the Guildford Rotary Club Eye Project is undoubtedly one of the most worthy and effective.’’
A detailed report on the visits to the various Kolkata eye hospitals is available directly from John Miles.
HOW TO MAKE A DONATION:- In accordance with Rotary International’s procedures you can make a gift, or raise funds, and donate them to the Guildford Rotary Club Eye Project Charity No 1127630. By deploying Gift Aid and Rotary’s unique Matching Grant system a £5 donation can accrue to £15* as a benefit for the eye hospitals. If you wish, you can make a donation for a specific number of eye operations at a unit cost of just £5 each. No administration costs are applied and all expenditure is strictly controlled by Rotary auditors and the Charities Commission.
To make a donation: www.justgiving.com/guildfordeyeproject -or to find out more contact Dr Sam Das on 01483 536706, email@example.com or John Miles on 01483 222739, firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the visit described above, John and Fiona have been back to India
to visit more of the Eye Project's facilities.
If you would like to join them on their next trip just email:
PE Fiona Miles of Leatherhead RC, RIBI President Nan McCreadie and District Governor Michael Goodridge at Guildford District RC's meeting 15th January 2014. Fiona was awarded a PHF for her continued hard work and endeavours on behalf of The Guildford Rotary Eye Projectmore...
SURREY COUPLE VISIT ROTARY EYE HOSPITAL FOR THE POOR IN SLUM AREA OF KOLKATA more...