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Friday, August 18, 2006
Sikh Fundraisers To Restore Eyesight

A charitable organization looking to provide the gift of sight to people in India is fundraising in Surrey for a new eye hospital.

Anup Singh Jubbal, president of Canadian Eyesight International, wants to raise $500,000 to build a state of the art facility which will perform cataract surgeries, conduct eye clinics, and host education and training programs in the Amritsar district of India.

"This hospital is crucial and we need the support of the community," said Mr Jubbal, also a member of the Rotary Club Surrey-Guildford.

Eye surgery costs just $35 and blindness is 80 per cent preventable with good nutrition, sanitation, medicine or surgery, said Jubbal. "But eye operations are beyond the reach of the average person in India."

Project Eyesight India, under the auspices of Eyesight International and in cooperation with local doctors, has been conducting eye clinics and cataract surgeries in India since 1989.

Cataracts are the result of a darkening of the eye's lens which can be caused by the rubella virus, trauma to the eye, and aging. With surgery, impaired vision can be rectified by a lens implant.

Supported by Rotary clubs in Canada and India, a number of Sikh temples, and the Indian-Canadian community, the project has restored sight to or performed surgery on close to 43,000 people and treated thousands more for avoidable blindness, said Jubbal.

The project was recently donated a 24,000-sq.-ft. building by a local charitable organization and Jubbal is now fundraising to establish a permanent hospital and preventable blindness centre.

Jubbal said people in Surrey can also arrange to host and fund an eye clinic and surgeries in their home villages provided they raise the money to fund 100 surgeries, or a total of $3,500.
"They can even go to India and participate in the eye clinics and get their relations to attend," said Jubbal.

The next eye clinic to be held in the district will take place in August. The organization will spread the word to all the surrounding villages within a five- to 10-mile radius, and everyone regardless of age, ethnicity or religion can attend.

The organization is planning a fundraising dinner in Surrey in November.

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