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Tuesday, Mar 09, 2004

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Sankara Eye Foundation on a mission for vision

L.N. Revathy

Coimbatore , March 8

UNDETERRED by the economic downturn, the volunteers of the Sankara Eye Foundation, USA (SEF) appear to be working tirelessly to realise the 20/20 vision by the year 2020 all over India.

This non-profit organisation, incorporated in California has, since its inception in 1998, managed to double the funds raised every year. SEF raises funds for a social cause — to support community eye care activities in India.

Working together with its affiliate, Sankara Eye Society in Coimbatore, SEF is mulling over its next move — `Focus Gujarat'.

The SEF Chairman, Mr Murali Krishnamurthy, told Business Line that the NRIs in the US joined hands to make the `Focus AP' project happen. "Once the plan was finalised and cost estimated, SEF took on the challenge of raising funds for the construction of the Sankara Eye Hospital near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. Our commitment towards the construction of this hospital was $1.25 million. We raised over $1 million and enabled the completion of the project on time. While we would support each of these projects till they became self-sufficient by raising funds in the US and sending 100 per cent of the amount back home, we will also keep exploring the possibilities of replicating the project in the other Indian States," Mr Murali said.

"But for the downturn, we would have raised a lot more," Mr Krishnamurthy said and recalled how some of his young and energetic volunteers had to leave the US after getting the pink slip. "But more youngsters joined and there has been no dearth in manpower," he added

Obviously the job loss and economic downturn has not disrupted the fund flow at the SEF USA.

He said that fund raising was done through events, booths, TV ads and working with major donors.

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