DOWNERS GROVE, ILLINOIS
The 7th annual music program to benefit the Blind Foundation for India (BFI) was organized by Dr. Dipak Shah and Dr. Sheela Shah at the Avery Coonley School’s Performing Arts Center, Downers Grove, Illinois. Over 200 people enjoyed the musical evening.
The evening saw some melodious songs sung by Dr. Dipak Shah and Dr. Sheela Shah. Dinkar Mehta, a comedian from India, entertained the audience. Hitesh Master from the Sa Re Ga Ma Orchestra kept the audience engaged throughout the evening. Pratibha Jairath served as an emcee and a guest artist for the evening, according to a press release.
Steve Bynum, Senior Producer, WBEZ 91.5 FM Chicago was the Chief Guest. He stressed the need to open one’s heart and wallet to help the needy visually challenged people in India. BFI raised over $18,000 which will fund a medical van for the Ramakrishna Mission, in Chandigarh.
Dr. Manu Vora, President of BFI, highlighted the plight of over 15 million blind people in India which translates to one out of every three blind people in the world. He also shared exponential power of prevention, such as $1 of Vitamin A drops administered from age 4-6, prevents the child from going blind.
Also, in India it costs only $20 per cataract operation, compared to $4,000 in the US, a multiplier of 200.
BFI was established in 1989 with a mission to prevent and cure blindness, and educate and rehabilitate permanently blind people in India. Over the years, BFI team has raised over $4 million to examine eyesight of over a million people. So far, BFI has conducted over 175,000 free cataract operations, donated 122 medical vans to transport doctors and patients, and distributed over 10,000 Braille kits to blind children for their education.
The current BFI focus is on prevention of blindness through Child Sight Projects. Over 750,000 school children have been examined for their eyesight and given necessary glasses, eye drops, Vitamin A, and in rare cases cataract operations.