Sankara Eye Care Institutions – Innovation with a Purpose
At a time when eye care was not taken up so seriously, recognizing the immense need for timely eye care in rural India, Dr. Radha Ramani along with her husband with the inspiration from Sankaracharyas of Kanchi, founded Sankara Eye Care Institutions in 1985. They had initially established the Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Medical Trust in the year 1977 to provide primary health care to the underprivileged in Coimbatore which was later christened as the Sankara Eye Care Institution.
Over the years the centre grew up. The group currently has 13 hospitals across 8 states of India. In 2002, Dr. Radha donned the role of Director, Paramedics Training and set the foundation for the Eye Care Manager and Vision Care Technician program. The latter trains girls.in the age group of 17 to 19 years from low socio economic background of local communities, while the former, provides further training to promising female employees in multiple areas of eye care management, thus giving them opportunities to rise professionally.
Under her watchful eyes and warm guidance, over 570 young girls have been molded into confident and independent eye care professionals. She has also worked with the Coimbatore City Municipal Corporation – maternity and child health centre at Ramkurbai, Coimbatore and headed the centre for 11 years. The centre has been awarded the “Best Achiever Award” by District Family Welfare for three consecutive years.
In 1995, Dr. Radha established Tulsi Rural Development programme along with Tulsi Chanrai Trust, wherein she focused on health, education, sanitation and women’s welfare as the crucial vehicles for rural development and social transformation in the newly established Tulsi Villages. The Trust established 5 medical centres in each of the villages, to provide preventive and curative health care with emphasis on women and children, with two creative schools in the villages wherein trained local youth are employed as mentors to the local children. She has also helped establish knowledge centres where awareness is imparted in areas ranging from government schemes and women’s rights to agriculture and sanitation through computers.
Dr. Radha is also a member of Rajiv Gandhi Mission for Drinking water and Central Rural Sanitation programme through which she has helped provide overhead tanks, pipelines, bore-wells with about 850 individual toilets, 30 block toilets and toilet blocks in village schools. The Trust has also initiated women’s polytechnic which imparts vocational guidance along with tailoring classes, typewriting classes and computer classes.
Co-founder of Sankara Eye Foundation, Dr Radha is a recipient of several accolades from Rotary and Ladies Circles. She has been recognized as the Woman Achievers Award, 2002 by Ladies Circles of India and Woman of the Year by a leading daily newspaper, The Indian Express.