Our project partner, Caritas, had chosen a school in the heart of Minneriya town which was easily accessible and convenient for the villagers. Caritas had mobilized their field officers within a week to pre-register 800 patients from approximately 12 remote villages in Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura districts. Each village was allocated a time slot to avoid crowding of the premises and the villagers were brought in by buses hired for the project.
Six qualified opticians from Colombo were ably assisted by Deutsche Bank volunteers who did a commendable job in managing the crowd, writing prescriptions, and providing the villagers with refreshments and first aid. 796 patients were tested during the eye camp, out of which 92 patients were diagnosed with cataract. The Deutsche Bank volunteers along with Caritas are planning on an extension of this project to expedite the cataract surgeries of these patients with the assistance of the health ministry.
The volunteers concluded a tiring but rewarding day with a trip to a jungle safari at the Minneriya nature reserve, reputed for its large herds of wild elephants. The volunteers returned to their homes close to midnight after being on the road for over 20 hours.
The spectacle handing over ceremony was concluded on November 26, 2011 at Kekirawa where 676 poor villagers received reading glasses, which would improve their quality of life tremendously.