Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Unique Indo-US Musical Collaboration to Raise Awareness
HelpMeSee Aims to Create 50 Cataract Surgical Backlog Free Districts in India by 2020
Establishes India Advisory Board with eminent leaders from the fields of Business, Sports and the Arts
The unique Music for Vision concerts being held at Mumbai and Delhi in October will mark the start of a new phase in the Global Campaign to eradicate Preventable Cataract Blindness with a target to create 50 Cataract Surgical Backlog Free districts in some of the poorest and most backward parts of India by 2020. The country houses the largest cataract-affected population in the world – nearly 15 million.
The concerts, being held at the prestigious NCPA, Mumbai and Siri Fort Auditorium, Delhi are a unique Indo-US musical collaboration that brings together leading international musicians. They are presented by HelpMeSee and Music for Life International (MFLI), two well-known international organisations. The dates of the concerts are October 20th at Tata Theatre, NCPA, Mumbai and October 23rd at Siri Fort auditorium, Delhi.
They will feature legendary Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan; distinguished US based conductor and MFLI Artistic Director, George Mathew; renowned American violinist; Elmira Darvarova (the first woman ever to serve as Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York); and the Bombay Chamber Orchestra which has brought orchestral music to Indian audiences for more than half a century. The concerts will feature iconic works by Indian and American composers, Amjad Ali Khan who will be soloist in his Samaagam Concerto for Sarod and Orchestra, and Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring respectively.
MFLI Artistic Director George Mathew observed, “Music has the capacity not only to bring people together for a cause, it frequently can become the vehicle to illuminate that cause. Aaron Copland’s iconic ballet is an amazing metaphor for the power of community to generate the gift of vision that HelpMeSee seeks to bring to millions of people affected by cataract blindness in India and beyond.”
India Vision: A Five Year Perspective
HelpMeSee, which has successfully worked with 242 partners in nine countries and performed over 248,000 surgeries, created India’s first ‘Cataract-surgical backlog free’ district in Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh in 2014 and subsequently replicated this in another four districts (two each in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh).
The organisation has drawn up plans to carry out over one million surgeries across India by 2020 with the aim of creating 50 cataract surgical backlog free districts in some of the most remote and backward regions in the country.
It will shortly open its hi-tech centre in Mumbai for creating well trained cataract surgeons using hi-fidelity simulator training systems that are based on aviation pilot training simulator technology.
The campaign will gain additional momentum with the setting up of an India Advisory Board comprising business leaders like Mr Ranjit Shahani, VC &MD, Novartis, Mr Pradip Shah, Founder, Chairman of IndAsia Fund Advisors, and eminent personalities like Ms Hema Malini and Mr Kapil Dev, Mrs. Subhalakshmi Khan amongst others.
Jacob Mohan Thazhathu, President and CEO, HelpMeSee said, “Poverty is the underlying cause of cataract blindness, which constitutes more than half of all blindness in the world. It costs about $100 to treat a single case. With effective Public-Private partnerships our dream of eradicating such blindness from India can be realised.”
About HelpMeSee – www.helpmesee.org
HelpMeSee is a global campaign to end cataract blindness, the leading cause of blindness worldwide. HelpMeSee intends to make the sight-restoring surgery available to millions of poor through scaling training of cataract surgeons recruited from within their communities and financial support. HelpMeSee is pioneering a virtual reality surgical simulator and training program to be implemented worldwide, adapted from extensive experience in simulator-based aviation training. Since 2012, the campaign has supported over 240,000 surgeries through 242 surgeon partners across India, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Madagascar, Togo, Sierra Leone, and Peru.
HelpMeSee’s approach to the problem through the enhanced and accelerated training of cataract surgeons using new technologies at the junction of aviation technology, surgical instrument production and powerfully improved standards of safety will ensure that it is new life, empowerment and economic justice in addition to light that will pass through that little lens that restores vision to millions.
Forbes, Bloomberg News, Voice of America, Vision Monday, All India Radio, and Philanthropy News Digest are among the news media which have featured HelpMeSee.
About Music for Life International – www.music4lifeinternational.org
Music for Life International, (MFLI) is a New York based social enterprise that was established to create social impact in a variety of sectors through music. MFLI presents musical concerts and other programs to promote the awareness of major international humanitarian crises and other public interest issues around the world. MFLI takes its name from the legendary MUSIC FOR LIFE concert organized by Leonard Bernstein in 1987 at Carnegie Hall. MFLI is a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt not-for-profit organization. MFLI’s global humanitarian concerts have included Beethoven’s Ninth for South Asia (2006), REQUIEM FOR DARFUR (2007), Mahler for the Children of AIDS (2009), Beethoven for the Indus Valley (2011), Shostakovich for the Children of Syria (2014) and The Scheherazade Initiative (2015), focusing on gender violence. These concerts, presented in Carnegie Hall, have brought together distinguished musicians from over 100 leading international ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, MET Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony and others.
The concerts have received major global coverage in the BBC WORLD TV and Radio, CNN International, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, Radio France, Voice of America, NY1 TV, National Public Radio, the Indian Express, The Hindu, the Pakistan Daily Times, and Musical America. The New York Times called Music For Life International’s recent humanitarian concert, Shostakovich For the Children of Syria, a performance which “will live in the memory for having been being part of its time as well as part of Shostakovich’s.”