All of today’s patients are extremely poor and come from the villages surrounding Varanasi In addition, they are the elderly in these community. The patients in this initial program range 55 years of age to 80 years. It is no easy feat to get them to come to Varanasi. Either the Vivekanand Mission staff or their family members must bring them to Varanasi. The recovery time takes more than a month too, so they are also not able to support their families in their normal roles during this time.
Every year we begin our annual program with Dr Richa. The surgeries must be performed on Sunday, because this is her only day off during the week. All her surgeries are done as selfless service, seva, free of cost. The main costs of the program are the screening programs, the room hire, and the cost of the medicines following the surgery. Providing eye surgeries for the elderly is a great opportunity and changes the lives of these villagers and their families. It is humbling to watch as these doctors give their only free day to offer their talents and expertise back to the community.