Although a relatively small organization in terms of employees, Operation Eyesight has created a big impact. That’s because Operation Eyesight is, in fact, a community of support – people from all over the world and different walks of life all focused on providing “the best for the poorest.”
Among these dedicated people are volunteers who perform all kinds of jobs. In this blog post, I’d like to focus on our Board volunteers who govern all the strategic decisions that have led to our success.
Raju Paul is the chair of our Canadian board, and his story is an interesting one. I asked Raju to share some of that story with us:
“I had been aware of Operation Eyesight’s work in India since the ‘70s through friends in the medical field who had been to India to set up eye camps and perform cataract surgeries. I used to admire them for their work in the country where I came from over 40 years ago. I used to think: ‘What a noble cause these doctors have undertaken.’ They used to talk about the volume of surgeries they have performed on each trip.
“In the winter of 1988 I started volunteering and became hooked on volunteerism and the opportunity to give back to communities, local and international. I joined Rotary in 1989 with that in mind. In the ‘90s, I was asked to volunteer on the program committee of Operation Eyesight and served on that committee for two or three years.
“In 2003, I became the president of the Canadian Rotary Collaboration for International Development, which received funding for international humanitarian Rotary projects in developing countries from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Rotary International Directors from Canada and India at that time initiated a project twinning the two countries to celebrate Rotary’s centennial in 2005. I was given the responsibility to coordinate this initiative from the Canadian side.
“Having completed several eye-related projects in India in cooperation with Rotary clubs during my tenure as District World Community Chair, I was inspired to carry out a major eye project of providing 100,000 eyesight restorations as the centennial initiative. I approached Operation Eyesight to partner with Rotary on this. CEO Pat Ferguson was receptive, and we designed the project to be sustainable using the core values of Operation Eyesight. The project was completed in 2010 and has provided 72,000 eyesight restorations in the Indian sub-continent.
“In 2006, I joined the board of Operation Eyesight, a role I continue to enjoy. As the chair of the Board, my goals include connecting with the South Asian community in North America to create awareness of Operation Eyesight’s work in India and Africa, and partnering with Rotary International on our initiatives.”