Her Royal Highness, Countess of Wessex visited Kolkata for the closing ceremony of ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital

By Priyanka Dutta / WBRINN


kolkata film maker sandip ray

Kolkata, October 3 (Washington Bangla Radio): The two week long stay of the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital ended with a royal closing ceremony held at Swabhumi. Presence of Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward of Britain and aunt of Prince Charles and Prince William made the affair a literally royal one. Eminent film maker Sandip Ray, Dr. Rahul Ali, Prof Gautam Bhandari, Jenny Hourihan and Dr. T. P. Das also attended the event. This is the fourth visit of the Flying eye Hospital to Kolkata.

HRH Sophie is a patron of the project Vision 2020 which is a global initiative to end preventable blindness by 2020. She has been in the city for the past couple of days and has been watching surgeries being performed in the aircraft and also at Susrut Eye Foundation. Speaking on the occasion, Her Royal Highness said “Of the 1.5 million blind individuals in the world, about a million live in Asia. Eighty percent of the blindness is preventable. Hence most people are living in the dark unnecessarily. I have been lucky enough to witness the incredible work of Orbis, Sight Savers and the IAPB. I have seen people who have been suffering for years cured overnight and I will carry with me memories of the smiles I have seen. I saw a man at Susrut Hospital who had been blind for fourteen years. The joy in his eyes as he could now see is one extraordinary story that I have added to the memories of my visit to Kolkata”. Her Royal Highness stressed on the point that there was a need to prevent the young children from becoming blind. Cost effective treatment and awareness must be increased among the people. Governments and care institutions need to ensure that treatment is available when needed.

british royal family member

Sandip Ray who was also present at the closing ceremony was thrilled to know that sixty five surgeries have been conducted during this visit. “It is really heartening to know that so many people will be able to see again. The training given to innumerable doctors and paramedics in state of the art facilities in modern eye care is also very encouraging. It is heartwarming to note that eye specialists from all over the world and from India took part in this training program” said the director. The director stressed on the fact that restoring the sight of children is a great work indeed. “My grandfather Upendrakishore Raychoudhury, my father Satyajit Ray and even I make films for children. Therefore this is very good to see that the children are getting their vision restored” added Sandip Ray.

orbis flying hospital kolkata

Two sponsors Alcon and FedEx were thanked by Dr. Rahul Ali for their great support from the start of the program to the end.

Orbis Flying Eye Hospital is a great initiative for lighting up the lives of several people all over the world. We hope Orbis continues with this noble initiative in future for the prevention of blindness in the lives of children especially.