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“In my field of travel writing, the description “life-changing” is bandied about loosely, but I could not be more sincere when I say this trip (February 2007 Nagaur Relief Ride) changed my life. (read more) -- Andrew Mersmann, author of Frommer’s "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference"
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TRAVEL WITH A PURPOSE AS YOU IMMERSE YOURSELF IN CULTURE AND LANDSCAPE
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Relief Riders International
P. O. Box 615
Great Barrington, MA
November 9, 2011
Nearly 24% of the world's blind population lives in India; there are more than 30,000 blind people in Rajasthan alone. The World Health Organization estimates that cataracts account for over half of all avoidable cases of blindness in Africa and Asia. Every year in India, 3.5 million people become blind due to cataracts.
Those suffering from cataract-induced blindness tend to be elderly, and quickly become a burden to their families as they can no longer work. Restoring the sight of patients suffering from cataracts reinvigorates their life with purpose and meaning, allowing them to reintegrate into their communities.
Cataract blindness can be cured with a simple fifteen-minute operation; sadly most Indians living rurally are unable to access this type of medical care.
This year, we are delighted to announce the re-launch of our popular Gift of Sight program on both of our upcoming Relief Rides in India this winter. Our goal this winter is to offer a total of 200 free site restoring eye surgeries, 100 surgeries per ride to individuals in the villages of Kherwa and Nimaaj.
Between 2006 and 2007 our Gift of Sight program was able to provide eye care to 1,900 villagers and performed critical cataract surgery for 300 people, successfully restoring their sight.
But in 2008, a statewide ban brought on by post-operative issues in patients participating in free eye surgery camps run by other organizations caused us to close the Gift of Sight program. The ban on mobile eye surgery camps was painfully felt throughout Rajasthan for 2 years as the work of free eye surgery camps came to a grinding halt.
Fortunately, due to the Indian government's sensitivity, a policy change was made in 2010 allowing organizations to organize free camps in rural areas so long as they only perform qualifying screenings at the eye camps. The actual cataract surgery is now to be performed in hospitals. We were very excited about this news and spent most of 2010 researching and preparing ways to re-launch the Gift of Sight Program for our upcoming 2012 Rajasthan Relief Rides.
To meet all the new governmental requirements Relief Riders International has partnered with the extraordinarily successful program run by the Shree Bhairav Charitable Trust. Since 1966, their eye clinics and medical teams have offered eye care to close to 1 million Indians, and have successfully operated on about 100,000 patients.
Help us reach our goals of restoring the sights of 200 individuals. As most of you know all our humanitarian programs are paid for by our ride fees, however our Gift of Sight program needs your support.
If you are unable to join us and would like to help one person in India regain their sight, please consider purchasing a tax-deductible eye surgery for $85. They make for purposeful Birthday and Christmas presents!
We hope you will consider joining us on what promises to be the adventure of a lifetime!
January 2012 Sardar Samand Relief Ride
January 25th - February 8th, 2012
February 2012 Narlai Relief Ride
February 18 - March 2, 2012
June 2012 Cappadocia Relief Ride
June 19 - July 1, 2012
"There is no end to the wonders of the universe. The more we get free from the limits of our small egos, the more these wonders disclose themselves to us"
-- The Mother
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