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

Larissa Cahute

Video: Vancouver Desi reporter gets a ‘desi’ makeover

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi reporter Larissa Cahute gets a taste of the hectic life backstage at Vancouver Fashion Week as she gets done up in…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-politics

Barinder Rasode primed to run for Surrey mayor’s chair

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Surrey city councillor Barinder Rasode will officially announce her bid for mayor at a “special celebration” organized at SFU Surrey on…
Continue Reading »

Jim Iker

B.C. kids going back to school as teachers vote in favour of new six-year contract

TAMSYN BURGMANN AND DENE MOORE THE CANADIAN PRESS VANCOUVER — Half a million British Columbia students will start their school year next week after the…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Larissa Cahute

Video: Vancouver Desi reporter gets a ‘desi’ makeover

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi reporter Larissa Cahute gets a taste of the hectic life backstage at Vancouver Fashion Week as she gets done up in…
Continue Reading »

Baird addresses UN Security Council on Iraq after American invite

By Mike Blanchfield THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird likened the fight against militants in Iraq and Syria to the historic…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-politics

Barinder Rasode primed to run for Surrey mayor’s chair

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Surrey city councillor Barinder Rasode will officially announce her bid for mayor at a “special celebration” organized at SFU Surrey on…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

DEPORTED-PAKISTAN

Rally held in Saskatoon in support of 65-year-old woman deported to Pakistan

THE CANADIAN PRESS SASKATOON — Supporters of a 65-year-old woman who was deported to her native Pakistan earlier this week have held a rally at…
Continue Reading »

Designers-entertainment

Fashion over the years in Bollywood

IMROZ MAUR VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood and Fashion go hand in hand; there is no Bollywood without fashion and there is no fashion without Bollywood. They…
Continue Reading »

fried rat in food

Customer finds fried rat mixed in pakoras at Indian railway snack kiosk

VANCOUVER DESI A snack kiosk at a railway station in Western India has been closed down after a customer found a fried rat mixed in…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver-soccer

‘This isn’t lingerie football’: Vancouver Whitecaps video taken down (w/video)

DAN FUMANO VANCOUVER DESI After some fans and Internet commenters cried foul on a new online video promoting the Vancouver Whitecaps soccer team, club management…
Continue Reading »

Change

Iran sentences ‘Happy’ dancing youths to six months jail, 91 lashes

IANS Tehran – A group of Iranian youths, who released a video on YouTube dancing to the popular song “Happy” by American singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams,…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone: Respect us as women off-screen

IANS Mumbai – Deepika Padukone says she has an issue when people “propagate objectification of a real person and not a character being played” and…
Continue Reading »

Parineeti Chopra-Aditya Roy Kapur

Daawat-e-Ishq: Habib Faisal missed the plot

SUBHASH K. JHA IANS  Film: “Daawat-e-Ishq”; Cast: Aditya Roy Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra and Anupam Kher; Director: Habib Faisal: Rating: ** There are two different films…
Continue Reading »

Vinay Virmani

A fun ride with Dr. Cabbie

Q&A: Canadian actor Vinay Virmani’s new movie continues his examination of South Asian immigrant experience ALMAS MEHERALLY VANCOUVER DESI Toronto-born actor and writer Vinay Virmani…
Continue Reading »