Free Cataract Surgeries

In 2004 I had seen a National Geographic documentary on the” Himalayan Cataract Project” which does free Cataract surgeries for the poor in remote areas of Nepal. Shortly thereafter, I read an article in Fortune about a fellow in Berkeley who with a grant from the Seva Foundation set up a factory in India to manufacture low cost, high quality cataract lens kits for the third world.

I decided to put those two pieces of information together and offer free cataract surgeries to the poor in Bolivia.

During my trip to Bolivia, Juan Lorenzo Hinojosa and I were able to arrange for two Bolivian ophthalmologists to donate their services, and for a well equipped hospital to provide facilities for 100 free Cataract operations a year if Dharma would provide the lens kits and supplies. These surgeries are done for the poor - those unable to pay for them themselves.

The $4,000 worth of lens kits and supplies were paid for by Dharma and shipped from India to Bolivia.

In August, the supplies arrived and the surgeries began.

By the time the first 100 lens kits were used up, the Cuban Government began a progam of free Cataract Surgeries and it was not necessary to continue this project.