We are fundraising for THE MAYNES' EYE CLINIC in the new Kaza Community Centre in the Spiti Valley in the Himalayas. Between India and Tibet, it is a remote mountainous region at an altitude of 12,500 ft, and a Buddhist community. This unique project is in honor of my Parents and my late husband, Tim Imirie. It will be the first sustainable eye clinic set up in these challenging conditions. Until now the population has had to travel 300 kms for any eye test or treatment. Locals who are visually impaired due to refractive error will now be seen at the MAYNES EYE CLINIC and prescribed glasses or other treatments.
The Centre was opened to much fanfare in summer 2015 and, while services in the region were severely disrupted, it survived the devastating earthquake that year. Recently the Kaza Community Centre was the recipient of a UN Climate Change Award as Low Carbon Winner. It uses thermal technology with local mud bricks, earth blocks, foundations reinforced with steel for earthquakes and solar panels on the roof.
This eco-passive building is now the nucleus of a large Tibetan community and reduces isolation in long winter months by providing a space for continued production of local handicrafts, a key income generator. It now has a Craft Shop, Home Stays, a resident cook and a large hall for village meetings and cultural activities. Plans include a café, library, dental and eye clinic. Recently the operations of the Eye Clinic have expanded and it is now the KAZA EYE CENTRE with plans to have surgical facilities and more.
The project is one initiative of The Spiti Projects, a Registered Charity (UK.1105720), founded by our friend, Joan Swinnerton, in 1993 to improve the quality of life for the 10,000 inhabitants of the Spiti Valley and to preserve their unique Buddhist cultural heritage. They built the first hospital in 1996 in Mane, followed by a school, clinic, girls' hostel, water pump and craft center; they also set up a Child Sponsorship Scheme, a mud brick project and Knit For Spiti. See www.spiti.org.
The Kaza Eye Centre will be run by staff recruited locally for optometry
services – the first technician has completed her training and a second will start in early 2019. Surgeons from the Rotary Eye Hospital in Palampur will provide cataract and other surgery. Last summer, they held an Eye Camp at the Centre which was a first and a great success. It is planned to wi-fi connect Kaza to the Hospital so they can monitor care at the clinic. Special thanks to to the International Eye Foundation, the Rotary Hospital in Palampur and Operation Eyesight for their support.
Life in the Valley is hard with extreme temperatures and lack of the most
basic utilities. – snow makes the valley unreachable for 8 months of the year. Wood is scarce because the valley is above the tree line and the harsh winters mean the task of keeping warm dominates everything. But the Spiti Valley enjoys over 200 sunny days a year and so the Centre can use solar energy to provide power and warmth. The center was designed by India’s Auroville Earth Institute who specialize in Eco Technology. Construction could only happen during summer months, a busy time for farming and production, so it took over 3 years. A
donation of £84,000 by Adventure Ashram paid for the land, planning and building materials. This is a group of adventurers, primarily motorcyclists, whose mission is to help the poorest people on the routes they travel in India.
Please help us create a legacy for the Maynes' family and for my husband, by bringing optical facilities to this poor, remote and desolate region. My Dad, Seaghan Maynes, a renowned war correspondent, long supported charities for the blind, and was blind towards the end of his life, so we thought it appropriate to sponsor the Eye Clinic as a fitting tribute.
Donating to the MAYNES EYE CLINIC through www.JustGiving.com is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe, you won't get unwanted emails, they send the money directly to the charity and Gift Aid is reclaimed on any eligible donations by UK taxpayers.
We need to equip, stock and staff the MAYNES’ EYE CLINIC to help this
region. Thank you for whatever contribution you can manage. Namaste!
Sheila Imirie Maynes