Sankara Nethralaya USA Activities - 2019

Amazing local talent matches virtuoso performance to make music the language of love!

Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust's Houston chapter and Bharathi Kalai Manram, (BKM- Houston), its long time partner in service came together once again to present a scintillating year end(2019) fundraiser concert by none other than the renowned Lalgudi violin duet of Sri Lalgudi GJR Krishnan and Smt Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi. The concert was a soulful journey through a wide variety of ragas and compositions, with highlights including Mamava Meenakshi in Varali, Sogasuga Mridangam Talamu in Sriranjani and Saint Thyagaraja's masterpiece O Rangasayee in Kambhoji. They were accompanied on double mridangam by Sri Akshay Anantapadmanabhan and Sri Rohan Krishnamurthy. It was inspiring to see the young mridangists, brought up in the USA, performing on par with the senior violinists to make it a truly memorable concert. The concert helped in creating awareness on Sankara Nethralaya's yeoman service to the indigent vision impaired and the major role in its endeavors played by the SN OM Trust, its awareness creation and support mobilization arm in the US. Sankara Nethralaya thanks the BKM and the volunteers for organizing the wonderful concert and rasikas for attending the event in good numbers and supporting the cause.

SN OM Trust Atlanta chapter raises $ 200k to support 3000 indigent visually impaired back in India!

A great performance “DrishTi” unraveled with a burst of energy at the ‘Infinite Energy Center’ Atlanta, USA on Sunday September 8th. An entertaining opening by MC Jayakiran Pagadala whose grip over several Indian languages made all regional audiences from India feel settled, set the right note to the grand event. The roll ups related to several programs Sankara Nethralaya has in its radar along with Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s AI revolution and how it is leveraged in detecting diabetic retinopathy were thought provoking. Google is partnering with Sankara Nethralaya hospitals.

Atlanta Trustee Srini Reddy Vangimalla, Vice President Moorthy Rekapalli & President Bala Reddy Indurti addressed the audience before the Bharata Naatyam program and highlighted about Sankara Nethralaya fundraiser events in different cities in USA and service activities in India.

When the dance drama unfolded on the stage, the audience wondered how the very talented guru Padmaja Kelam garu and her team were going to relate it to the cause of Sankara Nethralaya. The way Hasini character loses eye sight and the way she retains her passion towards dance in spite of her loss of vision and the message towards the end, that inner senses have no boundaries and inability to see hardly matters, when you pursue your passion, were heart warming. This connection establishment was awesome and what a terrific performance by the artist who played Hasini. Our heartfelt congratulations to Padmaja Kelam, Siddartha Kelam and team of children who worked so hard to make this happen. The lyrics were penned by Dr Uma Eyyuni and music was by Asha Ramesh.

It was most touching to see the tears swell in the eyes of a fan overwhelmed by the performance of the girl who played Hasini. DrishTi was conceptualized & directed by Padmaja Kelam and written by Siddarth and performed with live orchestra to 700 plus spellbound audience. Padmaja Kelam's disciple Priyanka Kasula played Hasini. Drishti signifies much more than its literal meaning. It’s about the awakening of our inner humanity and care for others. The external beauty that we see with our eyes is temporary and does bring short term joy. Anthar drishti or the inner sight, on the other hand, invokes the highest pleasure or bliss in all of us.

Fundraising team led by SN OM Trust President Bala Reddy Indurti, Moorthy Rekapalli, Srini Reddy Vangimalla, Rajasekhar Reddy Aila, Meher Lanka, JayaKiran Pagadala, Padmaja Kelam, Upendra Reddy Rachupally, Ramesh Chaparala, Rajeev Menon, Suresh Vemulamada & Neelima Gaddamanugu raised $200,000 to support 3000 indigent patients. Bala Indurti dedicated this victory to Atlanta Chapter founder Dr. Seshu Sarma who has moved to Washington DC to stay with her grand children.

Thanks are due to Atlanta team members Krishnadas Pisharodi, Srikrupa Easwaran, Phani Dokka, Uma Narayan, Raghava Tadavarthi, Kamal Satuluru, Namrata Satuluru, Rajesh Tadikamalla, Ramesh Valluri, Venkat Chundi, Ravi Kandimalla, Subba Rao Maddali, Ram Mallappa, Swadesh Katoch, Viju Chiluveru, Niranjan Prodduturi & ByteGraph for their continuous support and hard work to this event.

Thanks are due to MESU (Mobile Eye Surgical Unit) donors: Moorthy Rekapalli & Madhavi and Aniil Jagralmudi & Mahalakshmi. Main purpose of MESU is to eradicate preventable blindness in India. Initially we are planning the MESU for Telugu speaking states and eventually we want to replicate the same model all over the country.

Thanks are due to the following Adopt-A-Village donors: Mulri Reddy & Bindu, Dr. Sanjeeva Reddy & Sridevi, Suresh Vemulamada & Dr. Madhavi Rayapudi, Srinivas Surapaneni & Priya, Srini Reddy Vangimalla & Deepa, Prasad Mallu & Niveditha, Ravi Reddy Maraka & Praveena, and Balakrishna Nuli.

Thanks are due to Atlanta local associations TAMA, GATA, GATeS, GAMA, GATS, IFA, Maitri & Atlanta Telugu Samskriti for spreading the word in weekly broadcast news.

SN team also recognized community leaders and philanthropists Dr. BK Mohan & Rajyalaxmi, Pramod Sajja & Pratima, TR Reddy & Niranjini, Dr. G.S. Visvesvara, Veena Bhat for their support since inception of Atlanta chapter.

Mr. S V Acharya, President Emeritus and founder of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust expressed regret for his inability to attend the event. He conveyed his message to Atlanta audience over phone thanking for their long term support and making Atlanta chapter one of the most active chapters in US. He also thanked the Trust President Mr. Bala Reddy Indurti for spearheading this event with support from Vice President Moorthy Rekapalli, trustees Srini Reddy Vangimalla, Rajasekhar Reddy Aila, Meher Lanka, JayaKiran Pagadala, volunteers, Kalavani Academy & Atlanta community to make this as a memorable event in the history of the Trust in USA.

SN OM Trust Dallas chapter raises $92k to support 800 Cataract surgeries! 'MUSIC
for Vision' by Dr KJ Yesudas is a Grand Success!

Dallas/Fort Worth, TX USA, August 31, 2019

“Music for Vision: Give the gift of vision to the indigent” was the theme of the evening for the audience gathered at Irving Arts Center, Irving TX as a part of the "Music for Vision live concert by Padma Vibhushan Dr. KJ Yesudas” hosted by SN OM Trust Inc, USA, established in June 1988 in Rockville, Maryland, USA as a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization with a sole objective to support Sankara Nethralaya (SN), Chennai, India, a comprehensive eye care center for providing free eye care of international standard to indigent patients in the Indian sub-continent.

Highlights of the “Music for Vision” live concert by Dr. KJ Yesudas

1. This event generated funds to support over 800 cataract operations: 'The Wall of Vision' unveiled

It was a sold-out event and generated funds to support about 800 cataract operations for the indigent individuals with vision impairments. About 150 sponsors contributed to 85% of the net proceeds and the response from the community was overwhelming. 'The Wall of Vision' which showcased all the sponsors became a center of attraction in the lobby and served as a backdrop for many Kodak moments. “This Wall of Vision will inspire many donors for a noble cause and it is my privilege to unveil this foundational building block” quoted Dr. Reddy Urimindi, member of the SN OM Trust from Dallas during his opening remarks.

2. The power of the legend's voice

The power of the legendary voice of Dr. KJ Yesudas unified the people of all religions, regions, languages and brought them under a single umbrella. There was a pin drop silence during the entire three- and half-hour mesmerizing program. Everyone in attendance walked away with a great sense of satisfaction. Dr. Yesudas performed to the tune of public pulse irrespective of the background or language of the individuals.

3. Enhanced Brand Recognition, Education and Awareness of the Sankara Nethralaya Mission and Programs

The much-needed clarity about brand, education about the mission and operations of Sankara Nethralaya were delivered to the community. A variety of marketing channels were established for the first time to inspire and promote the event. Structured marketing tools, such as, animated banner ads on web portals, content-centric radio clips, video marketing, social media and commercial television channels were leveraged to reach the critical mass. Both traditional and non-traditional means of 'connecting' community groups contributed to this unprecedented success.

4. Engaged and Empowered Youth take active part in the event: Connect with the next generation

Over a dozen middle school and high school students from the local community were involved in the eventday operations. The Irving Arts Center trained these individuals to serve as ushers and other roles to welcome and direct attendees at the entrance and lobby. Thanks to Shanthi Gunna of Flower Mound Irving Indian Centennial Lions Club (aka FMIIC Lions Club)who coordinated the youth team exclusively to serve as ushers for the evening. Other youth served at the registration and lobby areas.

5. Dedicated Volunteer Teams fortified to serve at the current and future events

Several groups of dedicated volunteers were identified in advance and were given specific tasks at the backstage, registration, ticket processing, audio, lobby areas and contributed to the flawless execution of the event and received commendation from the audience.

6. Organization 'Connected' with public and witnessed overwhelming support of the event

Donors who contributed via online for this event received the beneficiary information well in advance of the event. “We have never seen this level of transparency when we donated money to other charitable organizations. Here we can see who got the benefit immediately” quoted many individuals who contributed to this event. Thanks to the Four-Star rating of SN OM Trust, the highest rating ever possible by the Charity Navigator, major charity assessment organization that evaluates charitable organizations in the United States.

7. A memorable evening to remember for a long time: Enthralled audience and mesmerized crowd is the outcome

Spectacular display of colorful decorations of the lobby and stage by Lucky Charms gave a warm welcome to the music lovers. Within minutes the lobby filled with crowd provided an ideal ambience for social interactions and photo opportunities. The festive mood prevailed throughout the evening as the attendees slowly started trickling in.

8. Sankara Nethralaya USA gave a grand welcome to the legend

Dr. Yesudas was given a grand traditional welcome with 'Poorna Kumbha and Vedic chants' after the audience were seated. Rajeswari Udayagiri served as the master of ceremonies for the evening and extended a warm welcome to the attendees. In his opening remarks, Dr. Reddy Urimindi shared his experience of bringing the sponsors, volunteers and the attendees together under one roof for the noble cause and appreciated the opportunity to serve one of the best organizations.

9. The new Mobile Surgical Unit project for Telugu speaking States got a boost,thanks to Andy Asava

Andy Asava, Dallas-based successful high-tech entrepreneur is one of the key pillars of this event and served as a Lonestar sponsor to support the new Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU). This effort is in the initial stages of planning to procure a new MESU to serve remote areas of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and surrounding areas. “We are lucky to have so many opportunities in life to gain wealth and success, and it is time to give back to our community in India, especially those indigent individuals requiring basic needs” quoted Andy Asava.

10. Introduced a new Adopt-A-Village sponsor, thanks to Anand Dasari and Chinta Murali of Sankalp

Anand Dasari, Dallas-based Founder and COO of Colaberry and Chinta Murali, both patrons of Sankalp Foundation of Anathapur (AP) came forward to support the Adopt-A-Village program and volunteered to serve Gotluru village in Dharmavaram, Ananthapur district of Andhra Pradesh. “I am thankful to many individuals who contributed to my success and helped me to reach this stage and it is time for me to give back to my own people and adopt-A-Village is a great start” expressed Anand Dasari.

11. Felicitation of the Artists

In addition to the legend Dr. KJ Yesudas, Rajeev Mukundan on Violin, TS. Nandakumar on Mridangam, our own Board of Trustee Sowmiya Narayanan on Ghatam, Rasikapriya Krishna and Rathipriya Krishna on the Tambura provided a comprehensive and divine musical experience to the gathering. All of the artists were felicitated by the sponsors in traditional Indian style with a bouquet of flowers and shawl.

12. So many people to thank for this unprecedented success

Thanks to all the sponsors for their generosity, dedicated volunteers for their commitment, music lovers who attended the program, media partners for their excellent coverage and promotion, restaurant owners who offered space and food, and the staff at the Irving Arts Center.

S.V. Acharya, President Emeritus is a constant source of inspiration, and Bala Reddy Indurti, President is a guiding force offering the right checks and balances to ensure everything is on track, Dallas-based Trustees Suresh Dalapathy, Nani Iswara for event-day assistance and Chennai team for promotional help.

NJ chapter of SN OM Trust raises $ 55,000 for community eye care in India right on the day of its inaugural!

Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust New Jersey chapter was launched on Saturday, Sep 7,2019 @ Royal Albert’s Palace, Fords, NJ. The event was organized by Srinivas Ganagoni (Trustee of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust). The event was supported by Lead India Foundation, Telangana American Telugu Association, and Telugu Fine Arts Society executive team. The event started with the rendering of the US and Indian National anthems and lighting of the auspicious lamp by various leaders from all the organizations present. Dr. S. Yegnasubramanian (Chariman, HATCC) was the keynote speaker for the event and he explained the importance of the Seva and service to mankind and his association with Dr. Badrinath garu and how simple a man he is. Dr. Rajender Modi (Trustee of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust) from New York attended the event and supported the cause. Children from the local dance schools performed classical dances and the local singers entertained the crowd with light music in Hindi, Telugu and Tamil. Nearly 350 people attended the event that raised nearly $55000 that included 3 adopt a village programs.

Vidhushi Kanyakumari concert in Washington DC on 31st Aug 2019 in support of Sankara Nethralaya

Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust, Washington DC chapter conducted a fundraiser concert by Vidushi A. Kanyakumari on Saturday, August 31 2019. For the first time in USA, The audience got to enjoy the “Thristayee” or violin trio. The 3 violins were tuned to different octaves (base, medium and high).The concert was not only a melodious treat for the rasikas but also an educative one. Violin maestro Kanyakumari took the time to explain the lyrics of some songs and ensured that the lyrics were sung by Kamalakiran Vinjamuri and Vittal Rangan who both did a splendid job of playing the violin and singing at the same time. Mr Krishna Raj Bhat, Washington DC Trustee welcomed the audience and Mrs Geetha Bhat rendered the invocation. After that Mr. S V Acharya, President Emeritus gave a brief speech on Nethralaya activities. This was followed by introduction of the artists by Mrs. Seshu Sarma , Washington DC Trustee . After a crisp opening piece of Natakurinji Varnam, the trio played Shri Ganesha Charam (Thillang) followed by one of the Pancharathna Krithis – Dhuduku Gala. Then they played an elaborate Dikshithar Krithi - Shri Vishwanath (Ragamaalika). Vidhushi Kanyakumari then asked the audience what they wanted to hear in terms of a peppy song and the unanimous choice was of course Raghuvamsa Sudha. Kadanakuthoohala raga can make even the laziest person get up and dance. At times, it appeared that the violins were going to start speaking! The rasikas were very lucky to listen to an Annamacharya Krithi in Seshadri Ragam , one of Kanyakumari’s own creations. This was followed by “Mathsya Kurma varaha” in Natakapriya ragam set to Misrajathi Ekathalam (56 beats). She spent some time elaborating on the lyrics and the thalam. Since there were many young budding musicians in the audience, they got to learn something new. The concert that had already built up momentum went on to thrill the audience further with its favorite pieces like Venkatachalanilayam, Brahmamokkate and Bhagyada Lakshmi Baaramma. It was a treat to watch Padmashri Kanyakumari flanked by 2 young artists , Vittal Rangan from India and Kamalakiran Vinjamuri from the US, play so effortlessly the whole evening. The 2 percussionists , K V Prasad and Jayant Balasubrahmanian did a very foot tapping rhythm during their Thani Avarthanam and also provided very good support to the violinists, thus making the whole concert truly enjoyable and divine. Mrs. Banu Ramakrishnan, treasurer of SN OM Trust delivered the vote of thanks and also honored the artists. The concert was very well attended by the supporters of Sankara Nethralaya and music lovers.

Sankara Nethralaya partners with Google to create, validate and implement advanced vision screening algorithms

It came as a feather in the cap for an institution in the forefront of embracing medical and non medical technology and constantly improvising and innovating its ophthalmic and non ophthalmic processes to find solutions to emerging ophthalmic challenges and enhance quality, reach, speed and convenience in dispensing eye care, when Google the global technology and communication giant engaged in the pursuit of solutions to social and humanitarian issues chose the institution as its preferred partner in developing an Algorithm to detect diabetic retinopathy a major ophthalmic issue threatening to deprive the vision of millions around the world and macular oedema caused due to myriad contributory factors, a condition which could lead to permanent vision loss if not detected and treated early. The collaboration involved conducting real time validation of the deep learning algorithms and implementation of the same.

Senior Ophthalmologists from the institution provided the vital ophthalmic/biological inputs in terms of markers/indicators to the Google team who leveraged artificial intelligence, exhaustive neural networks and complex mathematical systems to develop a deep learning algorithm which can detect diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular oedema with amazing accuracy, speed and perfection. The algorithm was put to real time test at the Sankara Nethralaya’s main campus at Chennai and at Thailand and its findings were evaluated by a team of senior ophthalmologists. It was a moment of great jubilation for the Google-SN team involved in the exercise when the specialists adjudicated the accuracy of the findings as being on par or even superior to findings by a qualified ophthalmologist. The institution credited with landmark technical innovations like developing and implementing one of the earliest Electronic Medical Records (EMR) systems, the DNA macro chip in ophthalmology, internet aided tele-ophthalmology camps and the one of its kind in Asia Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU) will now be leveraging this most advanced screening algorithm combining exhaustive neural networks and complex mathematical systems to detect diabetic retinopathy.

Encouraged by the success of the DR detecting algorithm the Google-Sankara Nethralaya team is now working on developing a similar algorithm to detect the progression of diabetic retinopathy and macular oedema.

Youtube Video Link click here

Music for a noble cause warms hearts and raises hope on a cool Dallas weekend

On a cold day of Spring on the March 31, 2019 Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission (OM) Trust joined forces for the third time with the Indian Fine Arts Association (IFAA), Dallas to present the 2019 concert by Padma Bhushan, Mrs Sudha Ragunathan for Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas, USA.

Approximately 500 Dallas musical rasiga’s were warmly welcomed by Mr. Santhanam Mullur, Former Trustee, Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust, USA and the objectives to raise funds for providing free surgeries to the indigent at home.

The new SN OM Trustees Dr Narasimha Reddy Urimindi and Nani Iswara were introduced to the DFW community by Mr. Mullur.

This was followed by a brief Video presentation of Sankara Nethralaya’s community service activities.

Dr Sujatha Subramanian, President, IFAA, Dallas warmly welcomed the community as well and introduced the profile of Padma Bhushan, Mrs Sudha Ragunathan and upcoming eminent youngsters Kamalakiran Vinjamuri on the violin, Akshay Anantha Padmanabhan on the Mridangam and Soumiya Narayanan (Trustee of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust) on the Ghatam.

Mrs. Sudha Ragunathan rendered songs that MLV Amma used to sing, Muthuswany Dikshithar and a vast collection of other songs to treat the Carnatic Music rasigas with a brilliant demonstration of her skill, versatility and unique style.

Vote of Thanks was presented by Dr Narasimha Reddy Urimindi, New Trustee of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust thanking the IFAA committee members, IFAA volunteers, SN OM Trustees and volunteers and Donors that supported the event by their warm attendance and donations to support the needy at home with free eye surgeries.

The poster exhibits on Sankara Nethralaya activities in India was very well received by all the Dallas Rasiga’s

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