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Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Non-profit FHSM Continues Free Eye Clinics for Underprivileged Communities in India

The socially engaged Buddhist non-profit organization Foundation of His Sacred Majesty (FHSM) has conducted a series of free clinics for underprivileged communities in India, where the organization runs multiple programs aimed at assisting and empowering socially marginalized and economically challenged communities.

In a series of reports shared with BDG, the FHSM revealed that it has held five free eye clinics in the eastern seaport city of Chennai (formerly Madras) in recent weeks,* with an additional eye clinic in Hyderabad, and has helped to provided ongoing assistance and support to people who lack access to costly medical care. 

The FHSM conducts free eye clinics at slum communities in Chennai. Images courtesy of the FHSM

“The FHSM has completed a total of five eye camps in Chennai,” FHSM president Rev. Gauthama Prabu shared with BDG. “We initially conducted four clinics in the neighborhoods of Kaspapuram, Kamarajapuram, Perambur, and Tiruvottriyur—all of these are slum communities in Chennai, where the FHSM supported 79 elderly people with free cataract surgeries, and 492 poor people with free spectacles.

“We subsequently completed a fifth eye clinic in the underprivileged Chennai neighborhood of Peerkankarai on 8 September, which brings the total number of people helped in this most recent round of clinics to 99 free cataract surgeries for the elderly, and free spectacles for 613 people from these communities. 

“We thank all our doctors, well wishers, and supporters for making this event successful,” Rev. Prabu emphasized.

Headquartered in Chennai, the state capital of Tamil Nadu, the FHSM is founded on and guided by the principles of socially engaged Buddhism, and is focused on helping deprived and marginalized communities. The foundation’s activities are based on four broad propositions: protecting and conserving ecosystems; promoting alternative healthcare systems; social transformation through strengthening grassroots democracy and good governance; and sustainable livelihoods, education, and social empowerment. The FHSM is affiliated with the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB).

The first FHSM eye clinic in Hyderabad. Images courtesy of the FHSM

“Blindness is one of the most debilitating health disorders and avoidable blindness is a major international health problem,” Rev. Prabu explained. “The World Health Organization estimates that 180 million people suffer from severe visual impairment (legally blind, by International standards). The leading cause of blindness throughout the world is cataracts and 90 per cent of this blindness is found in the developing world. Approximately 80 per cent of blindness is avoidable and can be prevented or cured with appropriate treatment. Thus, the FHSM aims to support 10 remote eye camps per year.”

The FHSM’s free eye clinics are supported by the Mumbai-headquartered company All Cargo Logistics, with medical expertise provided in cooperation with medical organizations such as Agarwal Eye Hospital and the L. V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad.

“The FHSM also completed its first free community eye clinic in the Moosapet suburb of Hyderabad on 10 September, more than 620 kilometers north of Chennai,” Rev. Prabu noted. “Here we were able to support 21 elderly people with free cataract surgeries, and more than 66 people with free spectacles.”

A donated oxygen concentrator for 25-year-old post-graduate student Praveen Raja. Images courtesy of the FHSM

Named in commemoration of the Mauryan emperor Ashoka (r. c. 268–c. 232 BCE), a key figure in the propagation of Buddhism across Asia, the Foundation of His Sacred Majesty was established in 2007 with a mission to “preserve, promote, and disseminate the principles of liberty, equality, fraternity, and social justice through non-formal education, sustainable livelihood, and conservation of ecology, alternative/preventive medicines, social empowerment, social advocacy, and social development in order for the restoration of the human dignity of the poor and marginalized.” (Facebook)

Rev. Prabu, who is also chairman of the Tamil Buddhist Society, additionally shared a more somber update on his recent activities: “The Tamil Buddhist Society, with the help of Triratna Boudha Mahasangha Dhammamitras Chandrashekar, Bodhichandran, and Dhamma Sahayak Dr. Mariraj donated an oxygen concentrator on 27 August in the Vanur neighborhood of Villipuram District in Tamil Nadu, to support the medical treatment of Mr. Praveen Raja, a 25-year-old post-graduate student, who has been suffering from cystic bronchiectasis. 

“Bronchiectasis is a chronic lung disease characterized by a persistent widening of the bronchial airways and a functional weakening of the mucociliary transport mechanism [the self-clearing mechanism of the airways in the respiratory system] owing to repeated infection contributing to bacterial invasion and mucus pooling throughout the bronchial tree,” Rev. Prabu explained. “Mr. Praveen Raja’s parents are daily wage workers who sought our assistance to support their son’s medical treatment.”

FHSM founder and president Rev. Gauthama Prabhu. Image courtesy of FHSM

“Sadly, although we were ultimately unable to save his life, there was a degree of consolation that we were able to help extend Mr. Praveen Raja’s life for a few additional days,” said Rev. Prabu. “We would like to offer our sincere thanks to all our donors who helped to provide oxygen concentrators that saved the lives of so many during the COVID-19 pandemic, and during this post-pandemic period.”

For more information on the FHSM: 

Email[email protected]
Tel: +91-9791239333 / +91-8680020086 / +91-9840813935

For international donations:

Account name: Foundation of His Sacred Majesty
Bank: State Bank of India
Account number: 31203682095
Branch: Selaiyur, Chennai
IFSC code: SBIN0007948

For donations within India:

Account name: Foundation of His Sacred Majesty
Bank: State Bank of India
Account number: 30522574810
Branch: Selaiyur, Chennai
IFSC code: SBIN0007948

* Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Non-profit FHSM Holds Free Eye Clinics for Underprivileged Communities in Chennai, India (BDG)

See more

Foundation of His Sacred Majesty (Facebook)
Foundation of His Sacred Majesty India (YouTube)
Foundation of His Sacred Majesty (LinkedIn)
International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB)

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