Bangladesh pediatric cataract surgery project under way

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Last March, Steve Williams of the Granville Rotary Club in Washington County visited us to seek support for his effort to obtain a Rotary Global Grant in support of the “Bangladesh Pediatric Cataract Surgery Project.”

Steve described the workings of the Ispahani Islamia Eye Institute and Hospital in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, a country with large numbers of persons suffering from vision maladies that he last visited in 2011. A previous project, carried out in conjuncti0n with the Dhaka West Rotary Club and the Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa Rotary Club in 2010, supported an extensive screening program that resulted in 560 cataract operations being performed.

Steve sought the Global Grant to support the purchase of a state-of-the-art optical cataract instrument for the eye hospital to replace its outmoded sonar imaging technology; to underwrite cataract surgeries on at least 150 children, and the training of eye specialists in the new technology to be able to continue the program.

SRC agreed to contribute to the latest, $50,000 effort that required partnerships between one or more Rotary clubs in the country benefiting, and one or more clubs elsewhere. Rotary Global Grants go to projects that are sustainable (i.e., demonstrating an immediate impact, providing specialized training to help the beneficiary area continue the work, and some form of ongoing financial support).

Now, after nearly a year of fundraising and administrative work, Steve says, “I am delighted to advise you that, after a number of small procedural holdups in the transfer of funds to ensure that this project can commence in Dhaka, the following took place:

“The funds which your clubs have so generously provided for this project have been transferred to the project account of the host club Dhaka West … $33,833 which comprised the funds pledged by (clubs in) Districts 7190 (Greater Capital Region), 7150 (Central New York), and 3281 (Bangladesh) plus The Rotary Foundation’s 100% match of the district pledges and 50% match of the eight clubs’ pledges. Added to the $9,500 from (pledges by) seven District 7190 clubs, plus Dhaka West’s own pledge of $6,667, the project’s total of $50,000 is now available for the project to proceed.”

Steve has promised to update as as the cataract surgery project goes forward.



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