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Relief Riders International
Relief Riders International Meets with
On its 3rd mission to Rajasthan, India, Relief Riders International (RRI) expanded its program and discussed past accomplishments and future plans with President Kallam of India at the Rashthrapati Bhawan in New Delhi, India. President Kallam was especially interested to learn of our rural health clinics, the school program, and our news plans to combat blindness and AIDS.
During our October 2005 trip, we successfully treated almost 2300 patients. 1300 patients were treated in our medical camps, while 970 children were treated in pediatric camps held at 5 schools. In addition, RRI distributed notebooks, drawing pads, pencils, erasers, maps and globes to 1200 students at those schools.
One of the highlights of the ride was the cooperative efforts of our translators and two of our U.S. riders, Dr. Mary Hafer, OBGYN and Dr. Jeff Hartford to treat 400 patients at 3 of our medical camps.
Dr. Mary Hafer commented: "As a physician I was thrilled to be able to experience India while providing a critical service to its people. To be able to ride a Marwari horse through rural Rajasthan and volunteer my medical talents was an incredibly rich experience for me. The barriers of language, culture, education, and class evaporated, and I was able to feel the pulse of India."
RRI's work has garnered very positive press coverage in India, and the reception we received in villages we visited was extremely positive and very exciting. We were greeted by the students and faculty and village officials at the 5 schools we traveled to with garlands and prayer receptions to "Saraswati," the goddess of knowledge. Students offered songs and dance performances at each of the schools, and all of the village officials welcomed us.
As Executive Director Alexander Souri notes: "visiting the schools is always a high point for our riders. It is impossible not to experience the great appreciation that the children show for the supplies we bring. It is always such a very moving experience, and one that I know our riders always remember."
Based on Mr. Souri's visits to Dr. V. K. Gupta's eye surgery clinics in October 2005, RRI has developed a plan to perform eye (IOL) surgery on its February 2006 Rajasthan Relief Ride. Dr. Gupta, one of India's leading eye surgeons, has more than 25 years of experience and has performed over 7000 operations. We will hold our first Eye Camp at the Primary Health Care Center in Mehansar, Rajasthan. RRI and Dr. Gupta will offer eye surgery to a minimum of 50 patients. And it is our hope that we will be able to double these efforts when we launch our "Give The Gift of Sight" campaign on the RRI website at www.reliefridersinternational.com/Cataract_Surgery.html
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