"దేశ భాషలందు తెలుగు లెస్స" - తుళువ రాజు శ్రీకృష్ణదేవరాయ
"dESa bhAshalaMdu telugu lessa" - tuLuva rAju SrI kRshNadEvarAya
Telugu is the sweetest among all languages of the Land - Great Tuluva Emperor Sri Krishnadeva Raya, 16th Century

తెలుగు మాట...తేనె ఊట
TELUGU...a language sweeter than honey

మంచిని పంచుదాము వడపోసిన తేనీటి రూపం లో
తేనెకన్న మంచిదని తెలుగును చాటుదాము వేనోల్ల
ఇదే నా ఆకాంక్ష, అందరి నుంచి కోరుకునె చిరు మాట

"TELUGU - Italian of the East" - Niccolo Da Conti, 15th Century


"సుందర తెలుంగిళ్ పాటిసైతు" - శ్రీ సుబ్రహ్మణ్య భారతి
"suMdara teluMgiL paaTisaitu" - SrI subrahmaNya bhArati
Let us sing in Sweet Telugu - Tamil poet Sri Subrahmanya Bharati, 20th Century

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

California Telugu concert to benefit Indians' vision


Two local charities raise money for eye surgeries

By Michelle Beaver, STAFF WRITER

INDIAN PERCUSSIONISTS play during a concert at Chabot College in Hayward on Saturday. (Jane Tyska - Staff)

So many handicaps. So many people. So little money.

That's why two local charities had to narrow their scope and specifically decide whom to help. The answer: people in India with eye problems.

The శంకర ఐ ఫాఉండేషన్‌ (Sankara Eye Foundation) and the బే ఏరియా తెలుగు సంఘం (Bay Area Telugu Association) teamed up Saturday to put on a concert at Chabot College in Hayward. About a thousand people attended, and all the proceeds are going to an eye hospital in southern India.

The music was mostly sung in Telugu, which is one of India's many national languages. Some call it the "Italian of the East" because most of the words end in vowels.

Over the years, the Sankara Eye Foundation and the Bay Area Telugu Association have raised money for 13,000 free eye surgeries and have paid to screen 50,000 children for eye diseases.

Now they want to add 100 beds

to the hospital that they built, so they can have 20,000 more surgeries a year.

Serious vision problems are common in India, sometimes due to malnutrition, said Venkat Maddipati, 39, a software engineer who is part of the Sankara Eye Foundation.

"The general belief is that, because of an unbalanced diet, people get cataracts," Maddipati said. "For many people, eyes are the main health problem. It's a really simple service to fix it. People don't know how often these surgeries will totally cure the problem."

About 90 percent of all the surgeries that the Sankara Eye Foundation pays for are for cataract removal. The foundation started in 1976 and has been successful. "The hospital went so well that we thought, why can't we do this all across the country?" he added.

That's ambitious, but probably necessary. According to Sankara organizers, there are about 18 million blind people in India. "We need to do whatever we can," Maddipati said.

This was the eighth year of the concert. One recent concert brought in more than $15,000, after expenses, organizers said. The ticket sales for this year have not been tallied yet.

About a third of the people who attend the concert do so because they want to help the hospital, while another third come because they're associated with one of the foundations, and the other third come solely to hear the highly respected musicians, he said.

"The main two lead singers, on a scale of 10, are a nine or 10," he said. "They are very popular back home. That's why we can attract people. That's why we can raise money."

Some of the singers live in India and some in the United States. Most volunteered their time.

"We've worked hard on this for the last six months, so we're excited to see it all come together," Maddipati said. "It will give vision to many people."

Courtesy: InsideBayArea


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