Unite For Sight Global Impact Fellows work with Kalinga Eye Hospital and Research Centre. Founded by local social entrepreneur Sarang Samal and managed by Sunil Kumar Mishra, Kalinga Eye Hospital and Research Centre is located in Dhenkanal, in the Indian state of Orissa. Kalinga Eye Hospital and Research Centre is an independent unit of NYSASDRI, Orissa's leading NGO, which organizes several other public health initiatives in the area. Kalinga Eye Hospital provides eye care to a population of 7 million throughout 7 districts of central Orissa. The hospital has a variety of departments, including a Department of Diabetic Eye Diseases, a Pediatric Ophthalmology Department, a Refraction Department, and a Cataract Department. Kalinga Eye Hospital is the first and only hospital in the state of Orissa to provide pediatric ophthalmology services, and it is one of a small number of clinics throughout India to provide pediatric eye care services.
Volunteers may participate for 7-30 days, and you may select dates that best fit with your schedule. Volunteers may optionally pursue a research study through the Global Impact Lab, and those pursuing a research study may participate for up to 60 days.
Born in a small village in Orissa, Kalinga Eye Hospital's founder Sarang Samal was only the second person in his village to receive an education, and he walked 2.5 hours each way to school when he was a boy. With a zeal for social activism, Sarang founded an NGO called NYSASDRI. After recognizing the correlation between blindness and poverty, Sarang decided to establish Kalinga Eye Hospital as a program of NYSASDRI. The clinic began in 2002 in a small house that Sarang rented for 5,000 rupees ($100) per month. Eight years later, with a new hospital building, thriving staff, and the latest technology for eye care, Sarang's hospital model is being used by others worldwide.
Front-Line Management and Global Health Delivery Projects
Unite For Sight's program in Orissa is unique in that Global Impact Fellows participate in cutting-edge global health and NGO management programs. While learning first-hand about sustainable healthcare and social entrepreneurship programs, Global Impact Fellows engage in cutting-edge management and front-line global health delivery projects. They work closely with Sarang, Sunil, and other clinic staff to learn about global health delivery while working on projects to advance and scale up the Kalinga Eye Hospital programs. Specialized skills are not required, and Global Impact Fellows of all backgrounds are able to significantly contribute to Kalinga Eye Hospital's growth and innovation. Unite For Sight works with each Global Impact Fellow to determine what skills, talents, and interests they can bring to a project at Kalinga Eye Hospital. Past projects have included literature reviews about healthcare marketing and presentations to senior clinic staff, literature reviews about patient barriers to care and presentations to senior clinic staff, writing case studies, writing profiles about the local social entrepreneurs and eye clinic staff, grant writing, global health delivery research studies, film and photo projects, website development, patient education projects, social marketing, graphic design, and similar support activities that are important to the eye clinic's long-term sustainable operations. The majority of each Global Impact Fellow's time is devoted to learning about healthcare through work on these special projects. Through these projects, Global Impact Fellows gain an immersive understanding about sustainable eye care, local social entrepreneurship, and NGO and clinic management in India. Global Impact Fellows may choose to work five, six, or seven days per week, and most participate every day of the week.
During their stay, Global Impact Fellows also have the opportunity to spend time at the eye clinic. They learn about eye disease by observing the eye clinic's doctors. Global Impact Fellows usually watch many surgeries and sometimes observe eye exams and treatment. They also participate approximately once every 1-2 weeks in rural village outreaches that provide eye care to patients who are unable to access or afford care provided at the hospital.
This program is suitable for anyone 18 years and older who has an interest in international service, global health, medicine, social sciences, or social entrepreneurship. Global Impact Fellows range from gap year students, undergraduate students, and medical students, to public health students, public health professionals, nurses, educators, opticians, optometrists, filmmakers, and photographers.
Standard Global Impact Fellows
Global Impact Fellows participate in a global health practicum that involves specialized front-line global health delivery projects. Unite For Sight works with Dhenkanal Global Impact Fellows to design and develop a plan in which they can use their skills, interests, and talents to best support Kalinga Eye Hospital's work. Global Impact Fellows arrive at Kalinga Eye Hospital with their specific project plan for their practicum. Past projects have included literature reviews about healthcare marketing and presentations to senior clinic staff, literature reviews about patient barriers to care, writing case studies, writing profiles about the local social entrepreneurs and eye clinic staff, grant writing, global health delivery research studies, film and photo projects, patient education projects, website development, graphic design, and similar support activities that are important to the eye clinic's long-term sustainable operations. The majority of each Global Impact Fellow's time is devoted to learning about healthcare through work on these special projects.
Global Impact Fellows also have the opportunity to participate approximately once every two weeks in village outreach programs that provide care to patients living in extreme poverty. The outreaches are located approximately 1-4 hours from the eye clinic. A Kalinga Eye Hospital doctor, as well as a medical assistant, paramedics, and a financial manager travel together with the Global Impact Fellows to the villages. The outreaches last about 4 hours, during which time the doctor sees patients with acute eye problems while the medical assistant counsels cataract patients about surgery. These patients are brought to Kalinga Eye Hospital to spend the night before surgery the next day. Global Impact Fellows have the opportunity to observe many cataract surgeries at the clinic, and they also observe eye exams provided by the doctors.
Filmmaker and Photography Global Impact Fellows
Unite For Sight filmmaker and photographer volunteers document the voices of patients who receive sight-restoring eye care through Unite For Sight programs. The videos and photos promote awareness and information about global eye care needs and demonstrate the commitment and dedication of Unite For Sight's local partner eye doctors who work tirelessly to provide eye care to those living in extreme poverty. This experience offers students, filmmakers, and photographers an opportunity to learn about development issues while making a significant impact.
Global Impact Fellows lodge in a furnished dormitory area of Kalinga Eye Hospital. The total expenses are $180 for a 10-day period, $215 for a 15-day period, and $330 for a 30-day period. This cost includes food, lodging, and transport expenses to and from the airport. If the occupant uses the air conditioning in the room, the electricity bill for lodging increases total costs by $6 per room per day. If two volunteers are sharing a room, this translates to a $3 cost increase per person per day. Air conditioning is usually preferred by volunteers during the summer but is not absolutely necessary during the winter months. Many volunteers prefer air conditioning in the winter months. A cook is responsible for preparing meals, but Fellows may also choose to buy and prepare their own food.
This program is suitable for undergraduate and public health students interested in pursuing an internship for academic credit, as well as for medical and optometry students interested in pursuing a clinical rotation for academic credit. You should consult your academic institution regarding how you can arrange this type of course credit. Unite For Sight will complete student performance evaluations required by a university so that a student can receive academic credit. We can also provide a letter for the university that confirms a student's planned participation in the Unite For Sight program and describes the student's pre-departure online global health coursework and global health field participation. Please read the Academic Credit section of the Unite For Sight website.
This program is also appropriate for undergraduate students, medical students, optometry students, and public health students who would like to pursue a research project, which requires that the student have a faculty mentor at their home institution as well as IRB approval. Those interested in research should read the Global Impact Lab section of the Unite For Sight website.
Read narratives by past India volunteers: http://www.uniteforsight.org/volunteer-abroad/volunteer-accounts#india
"Photo Gallery: Kalinga Eye Hospital," by Kallie Walker, Global Impact Fellow Photography Volunteer