The humanitarian and scientific outreach of Project Prakash places this nonprofit in a unique league. Founded by an MIT neuroscientist and professor, Project Prakash identifies, screens and provides surgeries to children from the poorest sections of India. It leaves the lives of these children truly transformed.
I was drawn to Project Prakash after reading a marvelous article by its founder that appeared in Scientific American 3 years ago. As a scientist I was truly impressed with the science, but I was even more intrigued and touched by its humanitarian possibilities. After thoroughly understanding their mission and their long-term goals I became a donor in 2013. With estimates in the tens of thousands India is home to the largest population of children with curable blindness in the world and Project Prakash has been working tirelessly to address this problem, especially in rural India. To date, they have screened 42,000 children, provided eye care to 1,400 and performed surgeries on nearly 500. A remarkable achievement for an outfit which is small and completely pro bono! I was particularly saddened by the fact that many of these children remain blind simply because they cannot afford a relatively simple surgical procedure that costs approximately $400 per patient.
When I first got involved with Project Prakash I was assailed by one other doubt: What happens to these children once their sights are restored? Are they left to their own devices? Since many of these children have missed years of school Project Prakash not only provides post-operative support by way of rehabilitation, but is also in the process of building a school to cater to their special needs. The scientific knowledge this endeavor has generated is truly amazing and is likely to have far-reaching effects in the field of ophthalmology. It has been a real honor being associated with Project Prakash.
I was involved "on the ground” with Project Prakash for over 5 years. It was a truly amazing, life-changing experience. There are many outstanding non-profits in India which provide eye care for the underserved... What makes Prakash stand out is the unique goal of dealing with the cognitive aspects of long-term visual deprivation. Ground-breaking science has come out of this program, helping individuals who would have never even been considered for treatment.
Further, Project Prakash, true to its founder’s vision, believes in opening up opportunities for its beneficiaries, providing treatment and rehabilitative support, but ultimately offering education and real career opportunities. We encountered many very bright individuals who were cowered into shyness and lack of self-confidence due to their lot in life. Opening up their potential fundamentally (and visibly) transforms them, while improving the future of the wonderful and mesmerizing country of India at the same time.
Giving to Prakash is a gift to the individuals receiving treatment, a gift to the people of India, and, through its scientific legacy, a gift to the world and all of our descendants.
During December we are besieged with requests for donations. I could easily go through a months income before getting through a day's email requests for help. There are so many good causes, so many people seek help to perform great acts.
I choose to help Prakash. It is a win, win, win.
First and foremost, some of the world's most impoverished people, those people whose fate cast them to struggle to get through each day rather than plan for any future, those are the recipients of the Project Prakash's good works. These youth, for lack of proper nutrition, are born blind. A simple operation could cure them, but the small amount, less than $800, is insurmountable.
Prakash gives the child sight. The child gets a new life, some hope-a win. Their status in their family (and in their own minds) goes from being a burden, to being a helper, a new source of hope. The family is strengthened as is the local society.
Science gets an opportunity to observe how one's brain visually interprets after lacking that optical sense during the formative years. We gain new knowledge and insight into ourselves. Science wins, we win.
Sometimes an obstacle can seem like an insurmountable wall, impossible to get over. When we each continue to toss small pebbles at that wall, after a time, those pebbles create a path over that wall, that impossible obstacle becomes an achievable effort.
It has been a year and a half since I first heard about Project Prakash. When I watched the TED talk by Professor Pawan Sinha, the founder of the project, I was tremendously impressed by the idea of how humanitarian outreach and science go together. The motivation and effects of the project electrified my mind because I am a postdoc in neuroscience and have been interested in volunteering activities. The scope of the project is not only to treat the blind children but also to educate them so that they will positively contribute to the society. The scientific findings from the eye surgery have significantly contributed to understanding neuroplasticity of human vision, and they are a strong driving force to generalize the post-surgery outcomes so that more people who suffer from various neurological disorders will be treated.
I find the humanitarian aspect of Project Prakash highy inspiring. As scientists we all aim to create a better world but Project Prakash shows us an unconditional way to do so.
Project Prakash is a uniquely compelling organization in that it has a moving humanitarian mission tied to a scientific one. Project Prakash takes on the admirable goal of helping curably blind children in India, who face horrible odds of survival and life prospects. Children are given free surgery and gain the use of sight, after having lived in darkness their entire lives. As a mother, I find this mission, in and of itself, very moving, especially when you see videos or photographs of the joy in the children who have gained sight. As a scientist, I have been so impressed by the major contributions Prakash makes to our understanding of the human brain through the studies of the children as they acquire vision.
The moment I heard about Project Prakash in 2011, I wanted to do whatever I could to help, and this is a common reaction that I’ve seen in others. My oldest son, who was then a teenager, was also compelled by Prakash and volunteered his summers to support the projects. I have supported the organization by donating whenever I can, volunteering, and even running the Boston Marathon to raise funds. I will continue to support Prakash for as long as I am able.
The Project Prakash, a US-based, nonprofit endeavors to treat curable blindness suffered by impoverished children in India. The nonprofit takes a holistic approach ranging from organizing eye camps in villages, identifying children for eye surgery, providing transportation to these children to New Delhi where the surgery is carried out and later on working towards their rehabilitation.
The organization is fortunate to have very dedicated team: the founder is a faculty at MIT and is passionate about the cause. The executive director has several years of being in nonprofit organizations and is equally passionate about the work. I'd say that she has been very creative in terms of fundraising. As a donor, I am always kept abreast of all the developments. I fully intend to support the benevolent work Project Prakash is engaged in.
I'd encourage every one of you to join the organization in whatever capacity you can to provide a gift of vision and more importantly a fulfilling life to these children.
Project Prakash is a nonprofit that punches above its weight. Founded by a venerable group of neuroscientist, Project Prakash goes into the poorest areas of India to identify, screen and provide surgeries to children with low vision and curable blindness. Over the years, the project has screened more than 42,000 children, provided surgeries to nearly 500 and eye care to another 1,400 on a shoestring budget. Their findings both scientific and humanitarian have changed the way the world understands vision. I give to this charity and post it to my friends as well.
Review from Guidestar
What I love about this foundation is the cause: humanitarian and scientific. A very rare find in the world of nonprofits. The people who work for the foundation are passionate and hard working. When you donate to project prakash you know that your money is going where it is suppose to.