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Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Non-profit FHSM Holds Free Eye Clinic in Chennai

Image courtesy of FHSM

The Buddhist non-profit organization Foundation of His Sacred Majesty (FHSM) on Saturday conducted a free eye clinic in the Indian city of Chennai for children suffering from retinoblastoma.

Retinoblastoma is a rare type of malignant intra-ocular cancer almost exclusively affecting young children, usually under the age of five. Although most children survive this cancer, they may lose vision from the affected eye or if the cancer is too advanced the eye may need to be removed. If diagnosed early, retinoblastoma can often be successfully treated.

“During the camp, 375 children were screened of whom 16 will be supported for cataract surgery and 26 will be supported with glasses, while 55 children are to be referred to higher institutions for further treatment,” FHSM president Gauthama Prabu told BDG. “FHSM will coordinate with the beneficiaries and hospitals to facilitate their treatment, including blood tests, collection of reports, coordinating surgeries, treatment follow-up, and providing glasses.”

Image courtesy of FHSM
Image courtesy of FHSM

The eye clinic was held on 20 August in the Perumbakkam suburb of Chennai. The clinic was supported by Mumbai-headquartered All Cargo Logistics, with the expertise of Dr. Shila and a medical team from Agarwal Eye Hospital. 

“Each year in India, 1,500–2,000 children are diagnosed with retinoblastoma. The majority of these children come from lower socio-economic communities and nearly 60 per cent have advanced conditions at presentation,” Prabu explained. “The disease is associated with low treatment and survival rates due to a lack of awareness, social stigma, poor access to healthcare, and the high cost of treatment. This is compounded by a lack of infrastructure, health professionals, good treatment protocols, and quality drugs, diagnostics, and supportive care.”

FHSM has been regularly providing treatment for children in cooperation with reputed medical organizations, such as Agarwal Eye Hospital and the L. V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad. FHSM assists vulnerable children in gaining access to proper treatment, accommodation and guidance during treatment, and necessary medicines. The foundation also coordinates with doctors for chemotherapy, treatment follow-up, and developing confidence-building measures for patuents. 

“The Indian Council of Medical Research has reported an increase in retinoblastoma cases among several hospital-based cancer registries in India,” Prabu observed. “One of the objectives of our eye camp is to increase awareness of eye health to help eliminate preventable and treatable causes of blindness.”

Image courtesy of FHSM

Headquartered in Chennai (formerly Madras) in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, FHSM is founded on the principals of socially engaged Buddhism and works closely with deprived and marginalized communities. The foundation’s work is based on four broad principles: protection and conservation of ecosystems; promoting alternative health systems; social transformation through strengthening grassroots democracy and good governance; and sustainable livelihood and education and social empowerment. The foundation has also been running an ongoing COVID-19 emergency relief operation to tackle the devastating repercussions of the pandemic on disadvantaged communities across India. 

“We express our sincere gratitude and thankfulness to All Cargo Logistics Ltd, without whom we could not have implemented this noble activity. We also thank all other well-wishers and volunteers for being part of this success,” Prabu added. “Further, we place our humble request that our donors and well-wishers may contribute so that we can implement more such camps and support vulnerable children and communities.”

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

For more information: 

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

“In the Last financial year, we were able to assist more than 400 beneficiaries through this program,” said Prabu. “And for the financial year 2022–23, we have targeted reaching at least 500 children affected by retinoblastoma.”

Image courtesy of 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 founded 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) The FHSM is affiliated with the International Network of Engaged Buddhists.

See more

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

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