Published On: January 7, 2018 09:55 AM NPT By: Sonam Lama

‘Make Me See’ dispelling darkness

‘Make Me See’ dispelling darkness

KATHMANDU, Jan 7: The idea of giving back to the community has never been confined to the categorical divisions of age, sex, class and profession. Humanitarian work is better evaluated and analyzed by the feasible and fruitful outcomes it tends to draw to a concerned group of people. 

‘Make Me See’ (MMS) is a social cause established in 2012 that works to raise money to fund cataract surgeries for the underprivileged, particularly children and elderly at the Sagarmatha Choudhary Eye Hospital in Lahan, Siraha. Since its inception, MMS has funded eye cataract surgeries for more than 300 patients from various parts of Nepal and India. 

Like an ordinary experience leads to an extraordinary change of events, the project started with a simple thought that was backed by an extraordinary attempt. While one of the founding members Mahesh Dahal was working as a computer programmer at the hospital, he learned how eye patients travelled to the hospital from far flung areas to get an access to cheap surgery at Rs 1,200. 

It was a matter of relief for the eye patients to have eye cataract surgeries in less than half the price of the same surgery conducted in hospitals of Kathmandu. Jaya Jung Mahat, Kaushal Sapkota and Prasanna Paudel later joined hands with Dahal to work actively on the issue. As they were students at that time, they started collecting funds from friends and close relatives who appreciated their efforts, and suggested them to promote the cause online. 

The online promotion eventually garnered a moderate number of donors. MMS so far has successfully conducted more than 300 eye cataract surgeries.

For them, the journey from the beginning was a hard nut to crack. Many-a-times their effort and priorities shifted as they were dedicated to their full time jobs. After a couple years of starting the cause and it progressing to better heights, many hindrances relating to work transparency occurred as the non-profit project had not been registered. 

Following the occurrence of the 2015 earthquakes, MMS team witnessed a tough phase as they were unable to raise funds as the donors’ attention were centered to the earthquake victims.

Nevertheless in 2016 with the help of volunteers, MMS organized photo exhibitions at Nepal Pragya Pratisthan and Bikalpa Art Center to collect a good sum and conduct more surgeries. 

“In order for the cause to sustain, we decided to devote ourselves voluntarily and called out other interested people to extend their support. Many of them helped us with their contributions, but we could not find an active bunch of people who could match with our vision. Hence, we decided to continue with the project despite the unrelenting hindrances and struggles,” said one of the founding members and Technical Consultant at Central Level Project Implementation Unit, Ministry of Education, Mahesh Dahal.

The efforts expanded to something bigger. Photographs of the project were put on display and sale at various cafes as a hub for diverse people to make them aware about the cause. The Crust and Pizza Bread in Mid Baneshwar was the first cafe to lend space for the photographs. “It has been a matter of pleasure to be a part of the humanitarian approach that the group of young members has initiated. I opened a café after my return from the US and I think this is the reason behind my return to Nepal. We have so far sold two photographs,” said Sakar Sharma, owner of The Crust and Pizza Bread.

“The café was a junction for me and my friends to gather. We used to see the photographs, but were unaware that those were for sale and for a cause. Later, I found it interesting and decided to buy one and contribute my bit to the cause,” said 26-year-old MBA student at Kings College, Bibek Balami.

With a thought that popped up due to empathy for the less fortunate, MMS has been contributing to give a new life to hundreds of people. Their five-year long journey has been inspiring so far, and they plan to fund more cataract surgeries in the future. 

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