An extremely valuable opportunity recently presented itself to the Upper Columbia Academy mission trip to India this year. Organizers of the trip are seeking the help of church members and the community so they can act quickly and finalize the plans.
“Prior to this week, we had not even hoped to be able to provide the eye clinics that we have in the past,” says Dean Kravig, one of the trip organizers. “But the eye team decided to offer their service again, and now we must act in order to facilitate their offer.”
Over the past two years, the Upper Columbia Academy (UCA) India mission trip has ministered to 150 villages in the Andhra Pradesh region of India. They worked with 50 villages the first year, and 100 last year, bringing them professional eye care from a very skilled eye care team. So many people in India have eye problems at a very young age, and are unable to afford any aspect of obtaining medical care: transportation to medical care, the time off of work, and hospital fees.
“Each evening, during our Health Talks, we share aspects of healthy living and how to care for our bodies,” says Kravig, “including how eating raw foods such as carrots can help their health, including their vision. However, it isn’t until we eat the raw carrots, and have the mothers do so, that the children or fathers will even consider trying them. Most of the time they are surprised at how good the raw carrots taste. That’s just one way we are trying to help them care for their eyes long-term.”
During the last two years of the eye camp efforts, which represent a total of 150 villages, over 5,000 people were screened for their eye health, 1,900 people received eye glasses, 1,500 people received free cataract surgeries, and more than 3,000 people received medicine for eye infections and other conditions.
The cataract surgeries cost only $50 per person, which covers all of the associated costs. All of the surgeries are done by one of the finest eye surgeons in the world, Dr. Jakob Prabhakar and his team. Dr. Prabhakar and his team are Indian nationals from Ruby Nelson Adventist Hospital in the Punjab region of Northern India.
“If you want to know more about Dr. Prabhakar,” says Kravig, “just Google him – it’s amazing what he is doing for his fellow citizens who simply cannot afford proper vision care.”
This year the mission trip is working with 200 villages in their evening meetings, and hope to help with eye camps in this many villages as well.
“I like to invite church members and anyone in the community to team up with us as we try to offer Eye care to as many people as possible in the 200 villages we will reach this year,” says Kravig. “The total cost is whatever we can raise – but the need could be up to $40,000 for 800 cataract surgeries. That’s barely the cost of 5 to 10 Cataract Surgeries here in America, depending on where you go.
The mission group will arrive in India on March 16, which means they have less than a month to raise funds and organize camps in up to 20 locations for the eye clinics to take place.
If you know of anyone else who might be interested in sharing in this gift to the people of India, please share this link them, or have them contact Dean Kravig by email at , or by cell phone at 509-994-2676.
Any donations are tax deductible, and can be made out to Upper Columbia Academy, and mailed to: 3025 E. Spangle-Waverly Road, Spangle, WA 99031. If you send a check, please just write “India – Eye Clinics” on the Memo line.
If you choose to donate electronically, you may call 509-245-3618 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Carol Ochoa in the UCA Business Office can facilitate your transaction. If you can, you are encouraged to use electronic funds transfer to eliminate the 3% charge from PayPal.