Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shankara Eye Foundation (SEF) - A Vision to eradicate curable blindness in India

SEF's motto is 'Vision 20/20 by 2020. It is a charity organization trying to eradicate curable blindness in India by 2020, FOR FREE. Curable blindness includes widely known issues like cataract for which proven low cost remedies exist for as low as Rs. 1200/- or $30 USD. Founded by Dr. Ramani, SEF focuses on such simple solutions that can bring vision to millions of such people in India alone. It is already endorsed in Govt of India and personalities such as Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

Started in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu now their free hospitals are available across India in states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra, Punjab and Gujarat. They currently perform about 70,000 free eye surgeries per year and their target is to perform 100,000 free surgeries. Apart from free surgeries for the poor, these hospitals also provide quality eyecare to normal people for a fee. So they are just like any other eye care hospitals but focussed on service rather than making profits.

For any organization regular funds are the key and SEF is very well organized. Their main source of funds is through donations from India and abroad through long time donors, fund raising events, advertising and booths in major events. I am part of the SEF volunteer group in the east coast of USA and I see how things flow. You can see transparency and hints of corporate governance through out.

So if you want to be part of SEF in India or elsewhere in the world, check out If you find time, try to be a volunteer and/or you can always donate your share to be part of this mission. After all, it doesn't cost too much to be a visionary.

Know Your India Better - The Tata Jagriti Yatra

If you can spare 20 days and have the interest understand India in depth, here is a chance. The Jagriti Yatra sponsored by Tata, is an interesting event that takes some 350 young enterpreuners to all the corners of India in a 20 day train journey. It may also include some foreign nationals as well. 

This yatra helps you meet not just the other 349 people on board, but you also get to meet the people who are making a difference across India. These real heroes are mostly from rural areas striving to make a difference. At key transits, you can interact with these interesting personalities and participate in meetings/debates that are likely to be telecasted in national televisions. People involved in the past includes Dr. Kiran Bedi, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Mr. N.R.Narayana Murthy (Infosys), Mr. Tulsi Tanti (Suzlon) to name a few.