“Sujata Bhandari grew up in Nepal where unequal gender roles were and still remain prevalent.” As a woman, she overcame many challenges and worked tirelessly to become an eye health professional. She is passionate about eye care and serving people in need. Because of this passion, Sujata is firmly committed to reaching people in remote communities. In 2017, she assumed her position as the Clinic-In-Charge at the Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh’s Lumbini Eye Institute District Eye Care Center in Pyuthan. This clinic is one that Seva Foundation directly supports.
Through Sujata’s creative initiatives, the clinic signed agreements with several rural municipalities for free and subsidized cataract surgeries for patients. These agreements ensured that the local municipalities would also contribute funds to the eye care needs of their community. Through her efforts to find people who need eye care services, the number of free screening camps supported by the clinic has increased and now reaches people in the more mountainous, harder to reach communities where they live. This has greatly increased accessibility and reduced transportation costs, in addition to ensuring that sight-restoring surgeries are more affordable to the poorest and most remote populations.
Since taking leadership of Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh Vision Center, she has dramatically increased the utilization and financial standing of the clinic. As a result, the clinic can now offer more affordable cataract surgeries to patients. The year before Sujata joined, the clinic saw 6,800 patients. In the past two years, the clinic has seen more than 9,000 patients each year. She has expanded the clinic’s work to also include school screenings for children in isolated communities. This engagement with community leaders and teachers has helped ensure that children at young ages have their eye care needs addressed earlier.
Thanks to visionaries like Sujata, more children have the opportunity to receive treatment that will improve their quality of life and enable them to go to school, thus breaking the cycle of poverty. Seva Foundation has been working in Nepal for more than 40 years. Through her work at the Nepal Netra Jyoti Sangh LEI District Eye Center, Sujata propels Seva and our partners toward our goal of reaching everyone with quality eye care, including women and children. Sujata is a genuine change-maker, with a unique and creative approach to bridging the eye care needs of the community with services from her center. Seva is honored to nominate Sujata as a 2020 Eye Health Hero.
“If you focus on reducing suffering, you will have more opportunities to empower the community.”
– Sujata Bhandari