In the summer of 2016, Sathvik Reddy, an Intermediate student from Hyderabad, signed up for an internship with Helpage India. The few weeks he spent with the NGO proved to be a life changing experience; not just for the 17-year-old student, but for about 100 women in rural Telangana.
“While going around Borabanda slums, I realised that many women were poor and helpless. Some of them lost vision and were seen as a burden by their children. I explored a few options and I realised that a simple cataract surgery would help them. And I discussed the idea with my father,” says Sathvik, as he juggles his life between a hectic school schedule that begins at the crack of dawn at 7 a.m. and ends only at 8.30 p.m.
Micro finance firm
His father, V. Srinivas Reddy, who works for a micro-finance firm , married the idea of free cataract surgeries to crowd-funding and Sathvik’s idea became closer to reality.
Mr. Reddy shared the idea with his former colleague T. Ranganath, who runs a crowd funding platform FuelADream. And campaign number 251 was born: ‘Re-Vision: Help Us Restore Vision For 100 Poor Blind Women’. “I thought of crowd funding as it is very transparent and the donors would know how the money is being used,” said Mr. Reddy.
Sathvik tapped the services of an NGO ‘Operation Eyesight Universal’ and also managed to negotiate the cost of cataract surgeries to Rs. 2000 at the St. Gregorios Eye Hospital, Balagram in Yacharam, R. R. District, where the operations are currently being carried out.
“A few dozen surgeries have been performed on people from rural Nalgonda district identified by healthcare workers of Operation Eyesight. My role is limited to creating the funding for the surgeries,” says Sathvik about the campaign which has mopped up about Rs. 2 lakh, enough for the planned 100 surgeries which will be completed by November 2016.
“I am happy to see the impact being made on the lives of these women — by giving them freedom to live their lives independently. I have posted the list of beneficiaries on the website (under Updates section) — and also a thank you note to the donors,” says the Second Year Intermediate student, who aspires to be either a computer or a mechanical engineer.
So, does he get time to browse social networking sites? “I check Facebook only once or twice a week for messages. I don’t have much time for anything besides studies,” says Sathvik .