Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa, and the multi-talented Bollywood actor/singer Farhan Akhtar, enthralled audiences during Sankara Eye Foundation’s fundraising concerts on August 24th in San Jose, CA, and on August 25th in Pasadena, CA.
The popular Bollywood stars performed to a live orchestra in front of the capacity crowds comprising largely of Indian American fans, patrons and volunteers, giving a taste of soul-stirring romantic songs and foot-tapping dance numbers.
Farhan, the son of famed poet/lyricist Javed Akhtar, also set the mood with some poetry recital. His occasional narration of anecdotes from his life had the audience in splits. The night was filled with melodic samples, many of which received encore requests from the audience.
Murali Krishnamurthy, founder and executive chairman of SEF, acknowledged on stage that an event of this magnitude would not have been possible without the unflinching support of the sponsors, and expressed his sincere gratitude to them. He presented the progress of the organization to the attendees and announced that three hospitals in India have now become self-sufficient and two more are close to becoming self-sufficient.
SEF, which is working towards eradicating curable blindness in India for the past 20 years, currently has nine super-specialty hospitals and is working on three new hospitals: in Hyderabad, Indore and Mumbai. (Read earlier India-West story here: https://bit.ly/2wp9bQT)
The organization provides free eye care for those unable to afford it, with the rural poor accounting for 80 percent (approximately 150,000 people per year) of the surgeries performed at Sankara Eyecare Institutes in India. Over 1.75 million people have received the gift of vision so far. SEF hopes to increase that number to 1.77 million this year.
SEF has earned a coveted four-star rating from Charity Navigator for its fiscal management practices and commitment to transparency. Mahadevan, Noorani and Mendonsa have been longtime supporters of the organization and are passionate about using the arts to both entertain the audience and to highlight the cause. Mahadevan even visited one of the hospitals in India some time ago.
“You support the cause, you believe in the cause, you are ready to do concerts with an organization like Sankara Eye Foundation, but till you go and visit their hospital and see the changes that come about in the patients’ lives, that’s when it totally changes you,” the renowned singer/composer told at a press meet at the Hilton Hotel in San Jose. “When you visit the hospitals and see young, old, children, poor people…from every economic strata, the difference that Sankara Eye Foundation is making in people’s lives, but you’ll only understand when you visit.”
Founded in 1998, the mission of the Sankara Eye Foundation, USA (SEF, USA) is to realize the goal of eradicating curable blindness in India. We initiate and drive community eye care activities in India by working with eye care organizations such as Sankara Eye Foundation, India which runs Sankara Eye Hospitals across India.. SEF USA has increased the number of specialty eye care hospitals from 1 in 1998 to 9 by 2017. The number of free eye surgeries is performed at an annual rate of 160,000 as of 2017. The goal is to perform 500,000 free eye surgeries per year. SEF has performed over 1.66 million free eye surgeries as of Nov 30, 2017.