Annual Eye Camp at Parmarth

The Divine Shakti Foundation (DSF) along with the Swami Shukdevanand Trust (SST) hosted at Parmarth Niketan Ashram its annual eye camp in #Rishikesh from the 20th to the 30th of November 2018.

An international team of doctors and other medical professionals from six different countries provided eye care treatment, including eye surgery, for numerous persons who would not normally be able to afford these services. The team included eleven doctors and thirteen para-medical staff from Australia, USA, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Nepal, and India.

Dr. Purnima Roy examines a patient.

This special camp has been organised for the last sixteen years with the devoted assistance of Dr. Purnima Roy, an Ophthalmologist from Australia, who specializes in the treatment of cataracts, glaucoma and general ophthalmology.

The eye camp is now a well-known and well appreciated medical service event for Rishikesh and the surrounding Himalayan villages and patients who come to the Ashram months in advance to ensure that their names are on the list to receive the required treatment. Doctors examine and treat between 800 to 1000 patients during the two week period of the camp.

While some of the medical professionals are offering their services for the first time this year, most have been coming to Rishikesh year after year to give of their time and devoted service to the less fortunate.

Dr. Manojkumar Patel, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, and Vasviji Patel

Dr. Manojkumar Patel, who is an ophthalmology specialist and practices in America, spent his birthday treating patients at the eye camp sponsored by DSF & SST. In fact, this is how he has spent his birthday for the last three years. Dr. Patel explained his motivation for giving his services as his love for Ganga Ma and Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji. He also noted that he had completed his MBBS in India and had much to be grateful for. Consequently, it was a great blessing and a labor of love to be able to give back to the people of India.

Dr. Neelima Gandham, who was born in Hyderabad, India, but migrated to Australia some 30 years ago, is an anesthesiologist and has been a volunteer at the eye camp for the last five years. She stated that she would continue to give her services for a long time to come. Dr. Gandham said she she felt humbled to be able to help the people of the land of her birth. She also stated that it said a lot for the Ashram and the efforts of the medical team that even though medical facilities were available in the area, patients made the choice to come to Parmarth Niketan’s eye camp for treatment.

Dr. David Merefield is an anesthesiologist from Australia and a first time volunteer at the eye camp. Dr. Marefield said he first heard about the eye camp in Cambodia, while working with a group of doctors there. A couple of the doctors on the Cambodia team had also previously served with us here in Rishikesh and they suggested that he consider offering his services here.

Dr. Merefield stated that he was very impressed with the arrangements made by the Divine Shakti Foundation and Swami Shukdevanand Trust to facilitate treatment of patients and the efficiency with which everything had been done. He also expressed his appreciation of the peaceful and spiritual nature of the Ashram and for being able to participate in the havan on the banks of Ganga Ma. Dr. Merefield noted the similarities between some of the practices of Sanatan Dharma and his own religion of Catholicism. He stated that he would be willing to continue offering to his services at future eye camps held at Parmarth Niketan.

After talking with members of the medical team, a golden thread linking all of them emerged. The reason for leaving their jobs and regular life behind and volunteering their services was the deep love for humanity and the pure desire to use their skills and knowledge to heal and save.

The Divine Shakti Foundation and Swami Shukdevand Trust would like to extend it deepest appreciation and respect to all the persons participating in the 2018 eye camp.

To read more about Divine Shakti Foundation and Parmarth Niketan’s dedication to healthcare, please visit https://divineshaktifoundation.org/projects/medical-services/ and https://www.parmarth.org/divine-projects/healthcare/.