In their continued efforts to eradicate curable blindness in India, the Sankara Eye Foundation (SEF) organized a fundraising Bollywood musical concert on Saturday, June 15, 2019, at the Oakland Arena in California.
2019 marks a special year for SEF with its Founder, Dr. R.V. Ramani, being awarded the prestigious Padma Shri award for his relentless work in eye care over the past 40 years.
SEF is expected to perform over 200,000 free eye surgeries in 2019. “No eye left behind.” The uniqueness of Sankara’s social enterprise lies in its replicable and sustainable model of 80/20, wherein 20 percent of patients pay for the free treatment that the 80 percent poor receive.
Their mission started in Coimbatore, India in 1977 and was followed by the 1988 establishment of SEF in the USA with Murali Krishnamurthy as the Executive Chairman. Nine hospitals have been constructed thus far, starting with the initial hospital in Guntur, AP in 2004. Upcoming hospitals will be in Mumbai, Indore, and Hyderabad. The organization also works with partner hospitals to increase their reach across India.
The Concert included musical performances by Sonu Nigam with Neha Kakkar.
India’s own mega rockstar Sonu Nigam performed for the bay area, along with the charming Neha Kakkar. The auditorium was full and the audience was looking forward to an entertaining evening. They were not disappointed.
Sonu Nigam does not need much of an introduction as his is a quintessential success story. His first song on stage was at the tender age of four accompanied by his father, Agam Kumar Nigam. At eighteen, he made his move to Bombay and the rest is history. He has risen to the very top in Bollywood and has also diversified into singing in various regional languages.
Sonu Nigam was every bit the rockstar at the concert. He sang he joked, he danced and had an incredible connection with the audience. His soul-stirring “Kal Ho Na Ho” resulted in a standing ovation from the crowd. His upbeat songs brought the crowd to the floor as he crooned into the microphone.
Neha Kakkar entertained the crowd with her “cuteness” and her “party’ numbers like “Coco-Cola” as well as some ballads. She has shot to fame after being a contestant in Indian Idol 2 in 2006. Her first song with Honey Singh ‘Sunny Sunny’ has over 80 million views on YouTube.
Like all good things in life, the show came to an end. The artists sang a few duets, ending with “Om Shanti Om,” to bring the curtains down on a very memorable musical evening.
The best part is that all concert tickets sales will fund SEF’s grand plans to continue to build eye hospitals across India, one by one.
We can’t wait for the next concert hosted by SEF. In the meantime, become a SEF volunteer or open your wallets and donate to the gift of Vision.