“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” – Robert F. Kennedy
There comes a time in everyone’s life when you search for meaning of life – the very purpose you were born.
It is a struggle to find a purpose in life. But when they do, their stories can be so inspiring, it’s enough to touch and move the millions of lives around them. Such is the story of Kiran Anandampillai, his wife Anjali, and Dr. Rajesh Babu, founders of Drishti – a social impact enterprise that provides accessible and affordable eye care solutions to under privilege areas of Devanahalli.
Drishti Team and Game Plan
Kiran Anandampillai – Tech Enterpreneur To Social Enterpreneur
Kiran Anandampillai was a telecom engineer of OnMobile when he resigned from his job to volunteer for Technology at UIDAI. Inspired by Dr. Rajesh Babu in 2011 who recently returned from London after a degree of Community Opthalmology, Kiran eventually resigned from UIDAI in August of 2012 to co-found Drishti with his wife Anjali and Dr. Rajesh Babu. Anjali Joshi Anandampillai, also a telecom engineer was also supporting and doing volunteer work at Vishwas/Viveka and with the Govt Observation Home when she co-founded Drishti.
Medical statistics report that of the total population in India, 1% are known to have curable blindness due to cataract. Studies and researches show that majority of the affected are the elderly or aged 60 and above, belong to low income or non-income earning households, and live in the rural and remote areas of the country. After meeting Dr. Rajesh Babu in Aravind Eye Hospital in 2011, Kiran and Anjali Anandampillai, both successful engineers then, teamed up with Dr. Rajesh Babu who recently finished his degree and resigned from his job at Narayana Nethralaya to co-found Drishti in December of 2011.
Making a Difference Where it Mattered
In an area that can hold as many as 2 million people, there is only an average of 1 or 2 hospitals that provide eye care. The idea, therefore, was to make eye care accessible and affordable to the under-served, highly-distributed rural districts. Shelling out from their own pockets and at the same time partnering up with Lok Capital, the group opened a hospital which included surgical facilities in Devanahalli. They also built smaller eye care centers in Chikkaballapur. To keep the hospital self-sustaining, services are offered with the minimal fee. Their model is to cover the cost of setting up and running the hospital using paying patients. Free patients are operated in the same facility as paying patients by the same surgeons. The marginal cost of free eye surgeries are supported using grants and paying patients. A surgery is done for Rs 1000 as part funding for the lens, drugs, food and transport of free patients. Drishti aims to be a self sustaining model.
Taking Eye care to the Patients
The biggest challenge of Drishti, however, lies in providing eye care services to village. To cover as many as 16 to 20 villages in one month, a customized mobile vision center needed to be built with the help of NID designer, Garima Ostwal.
The Drishti Mobile Vision Center operated around Bagepalli, and Vijayapura. The bus made it easier to reach more remote villages and provide eye care services to locals of far-flung villages in the district. Drishti on mobile also transports patients who needed eye or cataract surgery to and from the hospital. These surgeries were done and performed for free these village patients who are over 60 years of age. These patients get free food for the three days of stay in the hospital.
Video: Drishti’s impact
Image: Drishti Mobile Vision Center
In 2013 alone, Drishti has seen 39,402 patients, distributed or sold 7,643 eye glasses, and performed 731 cataract surgeries for free. To date, 80% of the patients have had their sights restored. Nothing short of a miracle, it only takes one great idea – and three dedicated persons – to change lives, and to make a difference where difference matters most.
You can know more about them – Drishti Care