- Create the Miracle of Sight that is Cost Effect with Cataract Surgery
- The Himalayan Cataract Project
- Making a Difference with Cataract Surgery
The unforeseen moment arrived with a shock on April 25, just before noon local time. In the hill district northwest of Kathmandu, two massive tectonic plates 15 kilometers below the surface shifted, releasing the equivalent of a century of built-up strain.
The roof of the earth cracked open and slid, and hillsides and walls crashed down. In the villages of Laprak and Barpak near the epicenter, 90 percent of the homes were destroyed. Landslides destroyed houses and cut off remote mountain villages across the High Himalaya. On Everest, an avalanche swept through the base camp at the start of the climbing season, killing 19 people, the deadliest day in history on the world’s highest mountain. The ruptured fault plane extended 70 kilometers from the epicenter, beneath the country’s densely populated capital city, reducing residential buildings and ancient towers and temples to rubble. Aftershocks continued for days and weeks, and then another quake, on May 12 — 7.3 on the Richter scale — shook from the same fault line, farther east, adding scores to a national death toll that had already climbed above 8,000 souls. Tens of thousands of Nepalese remained without food and shelter.
In the face of almost overwhelming suffering and need, The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology pivoted overnight into a national relief center, taking in trauma patients and using its network of contacts and its hub-and-spoke system to deliver emergency medicines and hundreds of thousands of meals to thousands of people in devastated outlying areas. The Himalayan Cataract Project raised $250,000 in nine days. At the airport at Kathmandu, on convoys of loaded trucks, in the hands of volunteers working side by side, cartons and bags of rice and lentils carried the modest, black-and-white labels: Small Help From Tilganga.
Recovering from a human tragedy of such scale and severity will take years, and would appear daunting, to some, to the point of hopelessness. But the dedicated doctors and staff of the Himalayan Cataract Project know, better than most, the power of the human spirit, and the importance of the effort. As Dr. Sanduk Ruit has said so many times, "You do what you can do."