A 100-year old organisation that provides quality eyecare to the poor
Not very often does one hear of organizations that have successfully been around for 100 years, so when I learnt I was visiting a 100-year old nonprofit organization, you can image how intrigued I was. Set up in 1914 in Daryaganj, which is now the heart of Purani Dilli, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, has been providing eye care aid and support to both privileged and underprivileged individuals for the past century. As I learnt from their Head of Donor Relations, Kiran Mehta, the hospital provides at least 50% of its services free of charge to those who cannot afford to pay for the same.
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How it all began
Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital was set up in 1914 by Dr. S.P. Shroff. An overachiever who completed his degree from England and could have easily received a highly-paid job instead decided to open a hospital for the deprived individuals. What motivated him to do so, is probably a question that comes to your mind, just as it did to mine. The answer to this lies in a document that dates back to 1918 that the team at Dr. Shroff came across by chance during a spring cleaning activity in 2013! Written by Dr. S P Shroff himself, the document probably served as the organisation’s first ever annual report.
A glimpse into the lives changed
On the day I visited Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital (SCEH), I was lucky to meet several beneficiaries and learn about their stories, all of which left me with a broad smile and shimmering eyes. SCEH has come a long way in order to assure the best treatment for every patient; and the stories of Arslan and Anshu reaffirm this. One-year old Arslan was brought to SCEH by his vulnerable mother, who herself suffered from low vision. Arslan was detected with Bilateral Cataract, which, as they learnt later, was due to heredity. Arslan’s mother also endured the same problem in her childhood.
1. A social media expert who can volunteer their time to keep their Facebook page alive with patient stories; and teach their staff in doing the same in an organised manner, going forward. 2. If making appealing powerpoint presentations is what you’re good at, then do spare a few weekends to help spruce up Dr. Shroff’s presentations that they use at potential donor/sponsor and other meetings.
In 1963, just one year before his death, Dr S. P. Shroff was awarded the Padma Shri by the government of India for his humanitarian efforts.