In 2011, the then President of the Rotary Club of Sydney, Roslyn McLeod OAM asked Indy Singh OAM to find a project that would build “international bridges of friendship”; this focused Indy Singh’s support for the Rotary Club of Sydney and its charitable projects into a passion to help some of the poorest people on the planet. The Vision Beyond Aus story was launched as a project approved by Rotary Australia Worldwide Community Service (RAWCS).
Vision Beyond Aus started by supporting the work of two Australian eye surgeons, Dr. Jay Chandra and Dr. Purnima Roy, in the small town of Rishikesh, on the upper reaches of the Ganges River, in India. They had regularly travelled there with a team of volunteers to conduct free eye surgery clinics for the desperately poor of the area. They worked in the corner of an Ashram in appalling conditions. Vision Beyond Aus invested in renovating the operating theatre, providing operating tables, automatic microscopes, sterilisers and a Phaco machine. Also toilets, bathooms, lighting and a refrigerator were provided. Vision Beyond Aus funded a team of 9 Australian surgeons, led by Dr. Chandra and Dr. Roy, as well as volunteer anaesthetists and orthoptists to operate in the new improved facilities. 180 people had their sight restored.
Indy Singh, Roslyn McLeod and 20 other Rotarians and friends financed their own travel to Rishikesh, India to celebrate the installation of the new improved facilities and support the work of these dedicated surgeons.
Vision Beyond Aus was established as a separate registered Australian Charity in 2012, with the objectives of “relieving sickness and distress through the provision of medical assistance and by undertaking relief and sustainable development programs for people in Declared Developing Countries without favouritism or discrimination by race, religion, culture or political persuasion”. Hard work has produced the charity we now see today.
Vision Beyond Aus now supports free eye surgery and related health care to some of the world’s most disadvantaged people in seven locations: Rishikesh, Ayodhya, Tughlakabad and Garivadi in India; Battambang in Cambodia; Banepa-Kavre in Nepal; and Wachet in Myanmar. Work now extends to screening and provision of glasses or surgical treatment for schoolchildren in disadvantaged rural areas. Indy’s ambition is to restore the eyesight of 100,000 of the world’s poorest people. Check here to see the progress so far: www.visionbeyondaus.org.au . Vision Beyond Aus also supports the work of Dr Geoff Cohn OAM in establishing ophthalmology teaching programmes; Indy has led a group of Rotarians and friends to inspect these programmes in Myanmar.
The main annual fundraising is a Golf Day and Dinner organized by Indy and the Fiducian staff. The day is well supported by Indy’s colleagues from the Financial Services Industry, friends and Rotarians; many attend out of respect and a desire to support Indy’s charitable work. To date Vision Beyond Aus has attracted one large bequest, the earnings from which support the charity’s work, and there are ongoing donations from many, including generous donations from Indy himself. Vision Beyond Aus is very proud to say all donated money is used to support free eye surgery and related health care because all management and fundraising is done by volunteers, by in kind support from Fiducian and by Indy personally.
Indy Singh was honoured with the OAM on Australia Day 2020 for his services to the international community through these eye care programmes.