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DrishTi: Dance drama raises $200,000 for Sankara Nethralaya

BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE

Atlanta, GA, October 9, 2019: An artistic fundraiser for Sankara Nethralaya (SN) USA’s Atlanta Chapter, aptly titled DrishTi, presented by students of Kalaivani Dance Academy (KDA) under the guidance of Guru Padmaja Kelam and Siddarth Kelam raised $200,000 for the foundation at the Infinite Energy Center on September 8, 2019. The drive was focused on supporting the ‘Adopt- a- Village’ and ‘Mobile Eye Surgical Unit’ (MESU) programs of the organization.

Emcee Jayakiran Pagadal was in his element as he welcomed attendees in multiple Indian languages. Introductory roll ups shed light on various programs of SN, including partnering with Google to detect diabetic retinopathy in a matter of minutes, using the search giant’s AI Algorithm.

“I dedicate this victory of supporting 3000 indigent patients to Atlanta Chapter founder Dr. Seshu Sarma,” said President Bala Reddy Indurti.

PHOTOS BY VENKAT KUTTUA PHOTOGRAPHY

In their address, Atlanta Trustee Srini Reddy Vangimalla, President Indurti and Vice President Moorthy Rekapalli stressed upon the significant contribution of Sankara Nethralaya in remote villages in India through the fundraising efforts across the board.

“Having vision is one thing. Being blind and having vision is a whole different concept,” quoted Siddarth about the idea of DrisTi. The story of Hansini was his creation, with co-choreography and Nattuvanga by his mom, Padmaja.

DrishTi, meaning vision, unearths the vision of the world through the eyes of protagonist Hansini who loses her eyesight in a mishap. Arrogant and insensitive to other’s feelings while she had eyesight, Hansini struggles with her loss initially. She eventually comes to the realization that it is her Antar Drishti that invokes eternal bliss, and what she visually saw was a very speck of what human heart can hold and comprehend.

COVERAGE OF DRISHTI IN OUR VIDEO NEWS BULLETIN

“This is a collaboration two years in the making between KDA and Sankara Nethralaya and also between 3 cities with lyricist Dr Uma Eyyuni in Nashville, composer Asha Ramesh in San Jose, and Siddharth and me in Atlanta,” said Padmaja, adding she was honored to have the opportunity after her conversation Dr. Seshu Sharma.

Padmaja and Siddarth’s expertise and experience as creative directors and dance exponents came alive as 22 Students of KDA portrayed Hansini’s transformative journey with tender loving care, in a refined confluence of classical and contemporary with the story in a modern setting and presentation rooted in classical Bharatanatyam.

Siddarth’s vivacious choreography, lighting and visuals were elevated by live music with Asha Ramesh on vocal, Santosh Chandru on mridangam, Vikash Achutharamiah Ryali playing morsing & rhythm pads, Sai Kishore on the flute and Pranav Swaroop playing the violin.

SN’s MESU program provides a stable, self-sufficient mobile platform that guarantees a controlled and sterile environment for performing cataract surgery in rural locations with no basic amenities. With a reverse osmosis plant for sterile water, an air handling unit for sterile air, hydraulic jacks for the vehicle to maintain stability and a generator set, the MESU is completely equipped and safe to ensure there are no infections. The surgeries are performed free of cost, and the patients can return home a few hours after the procedure.

Atlanta donors for MESU included couples Moorthy Rekapalli & Madhavi and Anil Jagralmudi & Mahalakshmi.

Donors for Adopt-A-Village program included Mulri Reddy & Bindu, Dr. Sanjeeva Reddy & Sridevi, Suresh Vemulamada & Dr. Madhavi Rayapudi, Srinivas Surapaneni & Priya, Srini Reddy Vangimalla & Deepa, Prasad Mallu & Niveditha, Ravi Reddy Maraka & Praveena, and Balakrishna Nuli.

SN team recognized Dr. BK Mohan & Rajyalaxmi, Pramod Sajja & Pratima, TR Reddy & Niranjini, Dr. G.S. Visvesvara, and Veena Bhat for their support since inception of Atlanta chapter.

“Thank you, Atlanta community and all volunteers, for making this as a memorable event in the history of the Trust,” said Mr. S V Acharya, President Emeritus and founder of Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust, who was unable to attend the event, conveying his message over phone. Hailing Atlanta chapter one of the most active chapters in US, he thanked all Atlanta trust members and KDA.

The fundraising team led by Bala Reddy Indurti included Moorthy Rekapalli, Srini Reddy Vangimalla, Rajasekhar Reddy Aila, Meher Lanka, JayaKiran Pagadala, Padmaja Kelam, Upendra Reddy Rachupally, Ramesh Chaparala, Rajeev Menon, Suresh Vemulamada & Neelima Gaddamanugu.

Indurti thanked all donors, volunteers, Atlanta team members Krishnadas Pisharodi, Srikrupa Easwaran, Phani Dokka, Uma Narayan, Raghava Tadavarthi, Kamal Satuluru, Namrata Satuluru, Rajesh Tadikamalla, Ramesh Valluri, Venkat Chundi, Ravi Kandimalla, Subba Rao Maddali, Ram Mallappa, Swadesh Katoch, Viju Chiluveru, Niranjan Prodduturi & ByteGraph and local organizations TAMA, GATA, GATeS, GAMA, GATS, IFA, Maitri & Atlanta Telugu Samskriti.

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