Setting the sights high: Sankara Eye Foundation,USA

Sankara Eye Foundation bring in Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Farhan Akhtar for the 20th-anniversary fundraiser concert


Ritu Jha


Sankara Eye Foundation(SEF) USA, is hosting live concerts in California to help raise funds to help eradicate curable blindness in India.

For this, its 20th anniversary, the foundation has called on artists Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsaan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa, along with the Bollywood figure and musician Farhan Akhtar.

The concerts are to be held August 24 at the San Jose State University in San Jose, and August 25 at the Pasadena Convention Center, in Pasadena.

Founded in 1998 by K. Muralidharan, K. Sridharan, and Khushnood Ahmad, SEF, USA is a non-profit organization that, since its inception, has been addressing curable blindness in India.

SEF, USA currently has nine hospitals in India and is working on three more – in Hyderabad, Indore and Mumbai.

Murli Krishnamurthy, founder and executive chairman of Sankara Eye Foundation, USA said things have been getting better for the organization.

“I could not have asked for more and now we are much more confident… If one door closes, we will knock on the next and keep going,” he said. “Many friendships have been forged. One of the most important things is honesty, and integrity gives us the strength to be bold and try to be humble at the same time.”

He said that so far SEF has completed 1.77 million free eye surgeries at its nine hospitals. The three new hospitals are to be ready by the end of next year or early 2020, pushing up the patient capacity by 2025 to 300,00 for free eye surgeries.

In addition, Krishnamurthy said, SEF has been also supporting third-party providers in the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Orissa, and in Rajkot in Gujarat and Dehradun in Uttarakhand.

“We will be performing an additional 200,000 free eye surgeries every year by 2025. So, by 2025 we want to deliver 500,000 free eye surgeries every year,’ Krishnamurthy said.

“Carrying everyone on this ambitious journey is not easy,” he said. “I want to run very fast but we are mostly volunteers who all have another full-time job to do. Recruiting, hiring and retaining volunteers is a very tough job even though our current volunteers do an amazing job.”

Mahadevan, a well-known national award winner music composer and made an impressive start with his first album Breathless.

Noorani is a famous music composer and guitarist and has lent his vocals to many Bollywood songs such as “Ek Junoon” from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and “Don The Theme” from Don.

Mendonsa played guitar and piano for AR Rehman before he became a music composer.

Akhtar, son of screenwriter and lyricist Javed Akhtar, is an Indian film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, playback singer and television host and earned a National award for his directorial debut with Dil Chahta Hai (2001), followed by Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011), which won him two Filmfare Awards, including Best Supporting Actor.

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