Our work in community health began in India listening to stories of people whose lives were blighted by cataract blindness and others powerless to access the medical care and support needed at the end of their lives. These stories inspired our giving, and ever since we have focussed on partnering with organisations that are working to improve the health and wellbeing of communities across rural India. Our approach has been to fund cost-effective, transformative solutions that offer both scalability and sustainability as the long-term project goals. 

Post-op cataract surgery patients in Bihar (C) Sophie Gerrard
Eyecare | 2001 - ongoing

Globally 39 million people are blind, 90% of them live in developing countries and yet 80% of blindness could be prevented or cured. Cataract surgery is considered one of the most cost-effective poverty interventions. We work with partners in rural India and Nigeria where there is a high incidence of cataract blindness and limited access to eye care.

Our goal is to support eye hospitals to eliminate cataract blindness by ensuring people have access to quality eye surgery and ophthalmic care and in turn, restore sight, quality of life and livelihoods. Since 2001 we have funded over 300,000 surgeries, building projects, outreach and training. A large part raised by funds from our Small change for Big Change partnership with London restaurants.

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Nurses make a home visit to a patient in Delhi, Emmanuel Hospital Association.
Palliative Care | 2001 - ongoing

 It’s impossible to imagine people dying in agony, with terrible wounds or illnesses yet receiving no treatment. For many people in India, this is the reality and every day; thousands of people are dying in excruciating pain. Effective palliative care ensures a person can spend their final days with dignity, free from debilitating pain as well as provide extended care and support to the wider affected family. Through our work, we’ve seen the incredible strength and emotional resilience of individuals and families as they undergo end of life treatment and care.  We’ve travelled with nurses across miles of bumpy roads and witnessed what a vital lifeline their role is; to provide pain relief and support to the whole family, in their home.

Our goal is to support this growing movement of holistic, homebased palliative care in North East India. We hope to encourage greater understanding of the importance of coordinated continuity of care for people who have a terminal illness.  

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We don’t like to talk about dying – we all want to help people be saved – but sometimes the only thing we can do is to help people have a better death. And that’s important, I know it is.  This is work close to my heart, not joyous in the way restoring sight is, but equally vital and transformative for the person dying and their families.

Arjun Waney  OBE, Founding Trustee, The Savitri Trust
Maternal & Child Health | 2001 - 2016

When mothers have access to good nutritional education and a healthy diet, their children have the best chance to a healthy start in life. Our Mother & Child Healthcare projects are now complete, and much has been achieved since we first set out on these journeys with our project partners. These projects were initiated in areas where the need was greatest due to the remote locations of villages and lack of access to healthcare facilities – in this case the tribal belts of Maharashtra state, India. We directed our support towards a supplementary education and feeding programme for thousands of mothers and their children

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Children at Project Why, Delhi (C) Andrea Hamilton
Education | 2001-2020

We believe in supporting the educational needs of young people to achieve their full potential in life. Many of the young people we worked with lived on the streets or slums in India were denied the right to quality education. We worked with partners who provided a stable environment to support their educational needs, but also their wider physical and mental wellbeing. We’ve funded targeted counselling support to adolescent boys in Mumbai, supported extra education provision for children living in the slums of Delhi and helped fund optometry diplomas for young girls in rural Bihar.

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As with Arjun’s other projects, what started as a small ripple has now grown into a tsunami of love and care. I consider myself privileged to be in a small way part of this great humanitarian cause. Restoring sight to so many has restored in me the vision of what is actually important in life. 

Gulu Waney, Trustee