In addition to celebrating our 25th year, a true highlight of 2020 was a milestone we reached together with scores of implementing partners around the world – surpassing 1 million surgeries! From our beginnings in the Himalayas to restoring sight in more than 20 countries, we are so grateful to you and all of our friends whose compassion made 1 million sight-restoring surgeries possible.
We remain committed to the work we started 25 years ago – caring for those most in need, no matter how remote and regardless a person’s ability to pay. Nothing could better capture that ethos than Tilganga’s CEO and master trainer, Dr. Reeta Gurung’s trip to Saipal in far western Nepal to treat 511 patients in December, providing 56 sight-restoring surgeries and distributing 380 pairs of glasses. Many in the village had never received eye care and spent years in darkness.
The interruption of global pandemic and the adjustments our programs has been significant – sourcing critical PPE, providing education and support to our network of partners, and right-sizing our outreach cataract campaigns to reflect the Covid-constraints. Fortunately we have been able to continue with our infrastructure and provision of critical equipment & consumables.
We kept pace with a number of essential capital projects to support local sustainability – including launching the Bahir Dar Specialty Eye Center in Ethiopia, supporting Tilganga’s operating theatre expansion in Nepal, and equipping a long-time partner and eye center in northern India.
Without a doubt, 2020 provided highs and lows, setbacks and successes, challenge and triumph. While Covid-19 had a profound impact on our world and our efforts to eradicate needless blindness in areas that need it most, it did not stop our work. In fact, Covid-19 has meant the need for eye care is all the more urgent.
Finally, it would be hard to top New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s characterization of our work, in his November 22nd column, “I’ve seen many humanitarian interventions all over the world, and there’s almost nothing so cheap, rapid and transformative as cataract surgery. It feels biblical, as the blind see again — and recover their lives.”
We enter 2021 as committed to delivering life changing eye care to some of the world’s most vulnerable populations than ever before. Thank you for your support.