Gopichand Bajpai was an average village farmer till he became associated with IGEHRC and eye care, words that he uses interchangeably. He says, “IGEHRC has given me a purpose to serve society. The satisfaction when the poor village people approach me for cataract surgery is so big that it cannot be measured.”
Gopichand is a pioneer of sorts: he was the camp sponsor who organised the first-ever camp when IGEHRC Amethi was started in December 2005. After 10 years, the ‘Shivratanganj camp’ is well known in the area and a regular feature on the eye care calendar of IGEHRC.
Gopichand is one of the 200 odd opinion leaders from the communities who help IGEHRC in reaching out to poorest of poor needing eye care. These people, local community workers in an individual capacity or associated with community-based organisations with credentials in community work, are identified as the camp sponsors. Camp sponsors take up the responsibility of publicising and promoting the camp through person-to-person contact and other methods of publicity. Every camp organiser has a team of volunteers contributing to making the camps a success. They canvas in the nearby villages and remote areas to ensure that the community is informed of the date and venue of the camp. The space, furniture, and basic organisation are also the responsibility of the sponsor.
Today, Gopichand proudly announces that there are not likely to be any village left in his area where eye care has not reached. In this camp alone, 60,000 patients have been treated and about 14,000 operations performed. It is Gopichand and other camp organisers like him who are the face of eye care in the remote villages.