Our efforts in India: To support the local hospital with training & equipment.
Anshu was introduced to a small village named Ganeshpur, near Uttrakashi in the northeastern Himalayan Mountains of India when she joined a colleague on an eye camp there. She had recently finished her optometry training.
The culture and natural beauty of the green mountainous Himilayas in Uttrakashi was captivating as were there people in this remote, rural area but so was the great need for eye care. Most jobs landed people in outdoor settings exposing them to high sun exposure in this high altitudinal place which meant tremendous amout of eye-related pathology such as cataracts, etc. Unfortunately, the poor people here didn’t have much access to eye care. There was one small government hospital there but the staff was overwhelmed by the need and lack of supplies and skills to handle the need of this area. It was extremely limited and the standard of care was low, due to lack of resources.
Anshu met the one light of hope in this rural community, the local host, Swami Premananda, a monk running Sivananda Ashrama who had also opened up a small medical clinic on the grounds trying to provide medical services to the community. Swami Premananda, a lively and entertaining man, was working very hard to address the social, educational, as well as the medical needs of his community. He was supporting education for kids who couldn’t otherwise go to school and sheltered many who were homeless. He gave various jobs to many in the community. He did mobile medical clinics and had hired a full time doctor and a pharmacist at his clinic which he aimed to turn into a hospital over time. He was the perfect local collaboration needed to expand and build up eye care services in the area.
During the eye camp, hundreds of local farmers and villagers came daily, walking for miles, to have their eyes evaluated, and for a chance at seeing better. Many were blind from dense cataracts or corneal disease (that left the front surface of their eyes white), glaucoma or other conditions. Anshu was humbled by the people who walked for hours and spent the entire day waiting for a quick exam due to lack of basic eye care available in the region. She realized her education and skills were in great need and made such a tremendous impact in the lives of others. It became very obvious that while she was preparing to join the work force back at home, she needed to focus her energy providing care where there wasn’t any other option. Before even leaving, she knew she was coming right back.
Swami Ji was in the process of expanding the small clinic into a hospital on the premises of the ashram. He had initiated the hospital construction using local laborers and materials. Anshu returned to Uttrakashi mutiple times and focused on providing direct care but also looked for local long term solutions. Swami Ji wanted the same. He built the hospital with an operating room, pharmacy, and an evaluation area. He hired a local optometrist. He invested in training him further and sent him for additional training. Anshu returned to Uttrakashi to help advance the training of the local optometrist staffing the clinic.
Swami ji made bringing our skills and resources to the people of Uttrakashi easy. He is a great local partner. He provides us with a long-term facility and full time staff in need of training and resources and we are able to work towards meeting those needs. Global Eye Project is supporting the clinic in India with education and equipmentation. Surgery in the entire Uttrakashi area was being done without an A-scan. Global eye project changed that by donating an A-scan to the facility. Our goal is to support the local staff and the hospital with education/training and equipment. Please support our efforts in the Himalayas of India!