TPRF Issues Grant to Support Eye Care in the Palestinian Territories

Feb 09, 2012, 07:30 ET from The Prem Rawat Foundation

Aid to help treat 35,000 children to prevent blindness

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 9, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With a gift of US$30,000, The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) continues to contribute to the cost of eye care for children in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

This is TPRF's fourth grant to the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group (SJJEH), which this year expects to provide services to more than 35,000 young people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).

"Treatment to avoid preventable blindness is among the priorities for TPRF eye-care funding," says Linda Pascotto, TPRF president. "We strongly support this effort by the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group because it provides an essential service to a group of children who would otherwise have severely limited opportunities as they grow up."

SJJEH CEO Rod Bull says that the problems addressed at the nonprofit's hospitals and clinics can keep children from schooling, learning, playing and socializing. "Obvious defects of the eye," he says, "are socially stigmatized and can lead to children being hidden at home and not sent to school, thereby decreasing their chances of playing a productive role in adulthood." In 2011 nearly 36,000 of the more than 107,000 patients seen by the nonprofit organization were under the age of 18.

In four of five cases, blindness is preventable, and early detection and professional care can prevent later loss of sight. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reports about one in five Palestinian children is anemic and that in the West Bank and Gaza even more suffer from chronic or acute malnutrition, which exacerbate many illnesses and conditions, including eye ailments.

"There is no charitable eye care in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem other than the services provided by the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group," Mr. Bull says. "There are no other services equipped to deal specifically with the problems facing children."

SJJEH, now a part of The Order of St John Foundation, was established in Jerusalem in 1882. It operates satellite centers in Gaza, Hebron and Anabta, as well as a mobile outreach clinic to service outlying populations. The organization also trains local doctors and nurses and treats patients regardless of ethnicity, religion or ability to pay.

About The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF)

The Prem Rawat Foundation promotes Prem Rawat's message of peace and his vision of addressing fundamental human needs so that people everywhere can live with dignity, peace and prosperity. For more information, visit:

SOURCE The Prem Rawat Foundation