Lions Club of central Madras paid a tribute to Helen Keller by awarding some of the most deserving ophthalmologists and Institutional and Social Workers on ‘Heller Keller Remembrance day’ recently at Sankara Nethralaya.
Lions Club along with Sankara Nethralaya has been instrumental in providing eye care services to people all around the country and have developed various specialty hospitals, community services for people who need immediate attention for eyes and medical services. They have also taken up various projects like treatment and training for Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) since 2006. ‘In Tamil Nadu, nearly 120 clubs have been set up for medical services in which at least 40 clubs are specialised in eye care services alone,’ said T A S Ramamurthy, the district Governor 324 A1.
The chief guest for the evening was Sangeeta Jatiais the first women director of Lions
Club International and a representative of 1.3 million Lions Club members.
This annual event, which has been observed since 1999-2000, awards people who have done exceptionally well in their service for eye care and related areas. It was started by Hari Narayanan, chairman-projects and head of project Sight first, when he was the president at Lions Club. Till then he has been organising this award function every year, In this 14th year celebration, there were six awardees who were awarded under four categories.
This year, the ‘G Sitalakshmi Gift of Sight’ award was given to Dr Arundhathi Tamuli, Chief Medical Officer at Lion K K Shariya eye hospital, Dibrugarh. Dr S S Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya detailed the history behind the award and its significance. “G Sitalakshmi was the first women to perform a corneal transplant operation, but after her demise, every year since 2006, Sankara Nethralaya presents an award on her remembrance to a highly qualified pediatric ophthalmologist,” he said. This year, it was Arundhath a great eye surgeon, who has performed nearly 40 corneal transplants in remote areas like Dibrugarh.
The Eye Care award was presented to two lion hospitals, Sri Sai Lions Eye hospital, Patna and Nethrodhaya in Chennai.
The ‘Knight of the Blind’ award was given to B Vijay Kumar, who was born blind and became a successful advocate. He is also a faculty of Sankara Nethralaya School of ophthalmetry. This award was shared with Dr Amarnath Choudary, Chief Eye surgeon of Sri Sai Lions Nethralaya, Patna.
R Swarnalakshmi, a visually impaired student of Class 9 in the Little Flower Convent For Blind and Deaf was awarded the Young achiever award this year. She is an active member of the women parliament’s through her school, and now the Prime Minister of the children’s parliament of Tamil Nadu. “I am extremely happy and proud to be present here. I also feel responsible right now,” she said.
Awards like these invoke a great need of care and attention to people who are needy. This is also a truly inspirational moment for many like Swarnalakshmi, who is very confident about her bright future. She is a perfect example of confident young girl, who is determined to aim high and think clear at this age. “To become a collector and do service to others is my only dream and I will achieve it,” she said.