By 1982, the activities of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Trust had grown very diverse and grown well. At this juncture, the Acharyas advised Dr.Ramani to establish Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Trust, exclusively to oversee health activities. A board of Trustees were appointed and have continued to guide its activities, ever since.
In 1985, a new chapter in the history of the trust was waiting to be born: under the leadership of Dr. Ramani and the persuasion and deep commitment of many doctors, especially Dr. S.Balasubramaniam, the idea of focusing on a specialised area of medical care emerged. The incidences of preventable and curable blindness in India was very high during the 1980s and there was much that could be done.
Naturally, the 10*10 sq.ft.clinic would not do for such a lofty dream; Providence would not have it that way either. A good friend of Dr. Ramani, ShriNatraj came forward and donated 5.5 acres of land in Sivanandapuram, in Saravanampatty area of Coimbatore. Back then, this area was a remote hamlet, very unlike the buzzing IT centre that it has become today. The entire land was covered in Parthenium and far removed from the rest of the city. Again, help came in the form of friends. Soon, a fencing was erected around the land and coconut trees were planted alongside the fence. A bore well was also sunk and on another side of the fence, avenue trees were planted as well. The residential quarters in the hospital premises were lined with suitable plants as well.
Construction of the hospital that was to be named Sankara Eye Hospital was yet to begin. This is when Dr. S.V. Balasubramaniam, both a visionary and philanthropist came forward to donate a Toyota van and construct a 1000 sq.feet consultation centre - Vedanayagam centre within the premises. The van was used for the Trust's outreach programmes.
From that beginning, there was no looking back. To the team at Sankara, Eye Care was going to be a long-term mission. Therefore, every facet of construction – be it the 10 feet wide corridors, the H-type architecture that segregates outpatient care from diagnostics and inpatient care, paving way for natural light to come in, or demarcating the support activities such as the canteen and purchase areas from the main hospital, were planned, keeping the future in mind. The architecture and construction remains relevant even today.
Sankara Eye Foundation (SEF) USA, a non-profit organisation, was established in 1998 in San Jose, California. It is run almost entirely by a group of energetic volunteers to support charity eye care at Sankara Eye Hospitals in India.
What started as a grassroots community in the Bay Area a few years ago, has now spread across USA as more and more volunteers have joined hands.
SEF collects funds for ongoing programmes and for the construction of hospitals. An extensive feedback model lets donors know exactly how their money is being utilized. SEF has more than doubled the funds raised every year for this cause. As a result, the number of free eye surgeries performed in India has grown exponentially.
Click here for more info on SEF USA.
SEF-EU Is a registered non-profit organization based in London. SEF-EU is dedicated to providing free community eye care through its affiliate, Sankara Eye Care Institutions, India.
Launched in the year 2004, SEF-EU is run entirely by a group of committed volunteers and aims to actively support free eye surgeries at Sankara Eye Care Institutions, India.
This is done by raising funds through events, booths and individual contributions. Donors can also choose to sponsor specific programs such as Open an Eye a Month, thereby deciding how their donations are utilised.
Click here for more info on SEF Europe.
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