October 19, 2016 - Two unique Music for Vision concerts being held in Mumbai and Delhi in October marks the start of a new phase in HelpMeSee's global campaign to end cataract blindness, with the proceeds going to support training for cataract specialists and achieve cataract backlog free communities in some of the poorest districts in India by 2020. India has one of the largest cataract-affected population in the world.
The concerts, being held at the prestigious NCPA, Mumbai, and Siri Fort Auditorium, Delhi, are a unique Indo-US musical collaboration bringing together leading international musicians. They are presented by HelpMeSee and Music for Life International (MFLI), two well-known international organizations. The dates of the concerts are October 20th at Tata Theatre, NCPA, Mumbai, and October 23rd at Siri Fort auditorium, Delhi.
They will feature legendary Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan; distinguished US based conductor and MFLI Artistic Director, George Mathew; renowned American violinist; Elmira Darvarova (the first woman ever to serve as Concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in New York); and the Bombay Chamber Orchestra which has brought orchestral music to Indian audiences for more than half a century. The concerts will feature iconic works by Indian and American composers, Utsad Amjad Ali Khan who will be soloist in his Samaagam Concerto for Sarod and Orchestra, and Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring respectively.
MFLI Artistic Director George Mathew observed: “Music has the capacity not only to bring people together for a cause, it has frequently and can become the vehicle to illuminate the cause. Aaron Copland’s iconic ballet music is a powerful metaphor for the gift of vision that HelpMeSee seeks to bring to millions of people affected by cataract in India and beyond.”
India Vision: A Five Year Perspective
Since 2012, HelpMeSee has worked with 292 cataract specialists in ten countries who have performed nearly 250,000 surgeries, and have created India’s first ‘Cataract backlog free’ district in Chitrakoot, Uttar Pradesh in 2014 and subsequently replicated this in another four districts (two each in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh).
Recently HelpMeSee opened its Learning Development Centre in Mumbai, where high-fidelity simulation and courseware training systems are being developed to train cataract specialists, based on the success of simulation-based aviation training technology.
The HelpMeSee India Foundation is supported by an India Advisory Board with eminent business leaders, Mr Ranjit Shahani, VC & MD, Novartis, Mr Pradip Shah, Founder, Chairman of IndAsia Fund Advisors, Mr. Sunil Mehta, Chairman & Managing Director, SPM Capital Advisers and distinguished personalities, Ms. Hema Malini, Mr. Kapil Dev and Mrs. Subhalakshmi Khan amongst others.
Jacob Mohan Thazhathu, President and CEO, HelpMeSee said, “Access to affordable, high quality cataract surgery is the solution to eradicate cataract blindness, which is by far the leading cause of all treatable blindness in India and the rest of world. Cataract blindness elimination can achieve massive economic impact and end the human suffering of victims and their families. Effective public-private partnerships assure that no cataract blind person is left behind. In India or anywhere else. ”
HelpMeSee is the global campaign to end cataract blindness, the leading cause of blindness worldwide. HelpMeSee intends to make sight-restoring surgery available to millions of poor through training tens of thousands of cataract specialists recruited from within their communities. HelpMeSee is pioneering a virtual reality surgical simulator and training program adapted from extensive experience in simulator-based aviation training. Since 2012, the campaign has supported nearly 250,000 sight-restoring cataract surgeries by 292 cataract specialists working across ten countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
About Music for Life International
Music for Life International, (MFLI) is a New York based social enterprise that was established to create social impact in a variety of sectors through music. MFLI presents musical concerts and other programs to promote the awareness of major international humanitarian crises and other public interest issues around the world. MFLI takes its name from the legendary MUSIC FOR LIFE concert organized by Leonard Bernstein in 1987 at Carnegie Hall. MFLI is a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt not-for-profit organization. MFLI’s global humanitarian concerts have included Beethoven’s Ninth for South Asia (2006), REQUIEM FOR DARFUR (2007), Mahler for the Children of AIDS (2009), Beethoven for the Indus Valley (2011), Shostakovich for the Children of Syria (2014) and The Scheherazade Initiative (2015), focusing on gender violence. These concerts, presented in Carnegie Hall, have brought together distinguished musicians from over 100 leading international ensembles including the New York Philharmonic, MET Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Boston Symphony, San Francisco Symphony and others.