Vancouver restaurateur runs eye-care camps for seniors in India

Published: February 5, 2013

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

Kamal Mroke

Kamal Mroke, the proprietor of India Bistro, has been conducting his People’s Eye Charity camps in India for the better part of two decades. Mark van Manen/PNG

Local restaurateur Kamal Mroke has spent the better part of 20 years giving the gift of sight to those suffering in his home country.

Now Mroke is gearing up yet again for his annual trip to India, where he sets up about 25 three-day eye camps across northern Punjab every February as part of his People’s Eye Charity.

A team of local doctors is enlisted and each camp treats 75 to 150 patients. On the first day doctors examine patients and determine who needs medication and who needs surgery, the second day they perform surgery, and the last day is for check-ins and check-ups.

While the camps are open to all patients, Mroke said most are seniors in need of cataract surgery.

“There’s a lot of dust and a lot of farmers in India — they’re so poor they cannot even look after their own eyes,” said Mroke. “I give them tools so they can go back to their ordinary life — they can do whatever they want … (so) they can feed their own family, support themselves.”

Mroke prefers his unique People’s Eye Charity rather than an ordinary clothing or food drive.

“I can give you food, (but) you’ll be hungry again tomorrow,” he said. “Without eyes you’re nothing … you don’t know what’s in front of you.

“I cannot feed you everyday — but the eyes I can give you once and all your life it can stay with you.”

Each camp costs about $2,500, with most of the money raised by Mroke’s restaurant, India Bistro, located in Vancouver’s West End.

“Especially thanks to my customers who help me a lot — without them there’s nothing I can do,” he said.

And if the total amount needed isn’t reached, the rest comes out of Mroke’s pocket — but it’s the best way to spend his money, Mroke said.

“I work so hard for my money I want to see where my money goes,” he said.

And the response he gets in India makes it worth every penny.

“I was so touched — the feeling you get when you’re doing the work. It’s so good,” he said. “They start crying — (they) can see again.

“They think you’re the God for them — you give them life.”


Tags: ,





Featured

Vancouver city hall

Surrey spends less per person than any other city in Metro Vancouver

THE CANADIAN PRESS A new report comparing per-capita spending among 17 Metro Vancouver municipalities says there are significant discrepancies across the region, with West Vancouver…
Continue Reading »

Egyptian Moth

Surrey officials declare war on European gypsy moth

SURREY NOW CLOVERDALE — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has found a foreign pest that “poses a threat to B.C.’s ecology and economy” in the…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-BC-assault-crime

Surrey sex workers warned about recent assaults

THE CANADIAN PRESS SURREY, B.C. — A public warning has been issued by police to sex-trade workers in Surrey because of two recent assaults on…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Vancouver city hall

Surrey spends less per person than any other city in Metro Vancouver

THE CANADIAN PRESS A new report comparing per-capita spending among 17 Metro Vancouver municipalities says there are significant discrepancies across the region, with West Vancouver…
Continue Reading »

Egyptian Moth

Surrey officials declare war on European gypsy moth

SURREY NOW CLOVERDALE — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has found a foreign pest that “poses a threat to B.C.’s ecology and economy” in the…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-BC-assault-crime

Surrey sex workers warned about recent assaults

THE CANADIAN PRESS SURREY, B.C. — A public warning has been issued by police to sex-trade workers in Surrey because of two recent assaults on…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

peter

23-year-old Indian soccer player dies after goal celebration goes horribly wrong

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI – The Mizoram Football Association says a 23-year-old Indian soccer player has died after injuring his spine while celebrating a…
Continue Reading »

karma

Good Karma: Free Downtown Eastside studio helping yoga return to its ‘roots’

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Entering through a desolate back alley off West Hastings Street in the Downtown Eastside, next to a gravel parking lot and…
Continue Reading »

Merv Bayda and Kal Dosanjh

Ask One Surrey’s Merv Bayda and Kal Dosanjh how they will fight crime in the city

  VANCOUVER DESI With crime one of the leadings issues in the Surrey municipal elections, Vancouver Desi is set to host two cops — Merv Bayda and…
Continue Reading »

WORLD WAR I

Surrey resident says the involvement of Sikh soldiers in WWI has not been taught in schools

KRISTI ALEXANDRA SURREY NOW SURREY — Coming up on the hundredth anniversary of the First World War this Remembrance Day, images of poppies, Canadian maple…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver-BC-surrey

Most South Asians and Chinese in B.C. have faced discrimination based on ethnicity

A quarter reported experiencing moderate or significant amounts of discrimination DOUGLAS TODD VANCOUVER DESI  Stereotyping. Verbal harassment. Poor customer service. Workplace unfairness. Exclusion from dating….
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Desi boobs Sonakshi SInha

Sonakshi Sinha enjoyed Tamil film debut with Lingaa

IANS Chennai  – Actress Sonakshi Sinha, who is making her Tamil debut opposite superstar Rajinikanth in upcoming Tamil actioner Lingaa, says she thoroughly enjoyed working…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Irrfan Khan to head Abu Dhabi film fest jury

IANS New Delhi  – Acclaimed actor Irrfan Khan will preside over the Narrative Feature Competition Jury at the forthcoming Abu Dhabi Film Festival (ADFF). The…
Continue Reading »

Rekha

Rekha’s TV presence has left tremendous impact: Indra Kumar

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS Mumbai  – Veteran actress Rekha, who has kept her distance from the small screen, has duly followed the current tradition of…
Continue Reading »