An untold tale and some unsung Indian heroes in Uganda
Featuring NICA, The North Indian Cultural Association (Uganda)
Hi readers, it has been a very long time since the last blog post on 21st March. I hope the week was good to all of you. The financial year has just ended and now we are in a different bent of mind, ready to welcome Spring season in different forms and colours in different parts of the globe.For my country India , it is a combination of the spring festival celebrations and the election climate.
Today through my blog, I would like to introduce a unique social organization in Uganda NICA by name. Its full form being North Indian Cultural Association. NICA in Punjabi language(an Indian language) means infant or a toddler and the members of this special organization consider themselves as learners amongst all other sister associations in Uganda. My words will fall short to praise them or even this entire blog post is not enough to cover their entire yeoman’s service that they have been rendering to the needy and poor sections of Uganda ,since inception in 2011. NICA is an association with a difference ,genuinely wishing to contribute towards the common goals of promoting strong cultural values among the new generation and rendering all possible support for the betterment of the local society.
NICA is an initiative of a few like-minded and noble-hearted Indians hailing from northern India but residing in Uganda on account of their jobs or businesses in Africa.They are willing to give back to the society by reaching out to its under privileged and needy. Particularly ,they are taking care of the poor people suffering from eye ailments and impaired vision but cannot afford medical assistance or even buy a pair of spectacles or medicines.NICA has embarked on a CSR activity named “Your Vision – Our Mission” and organizes free eye medical camps every month in various slum areas around and outside Kampala ,the capital city of Uganda. The motto or the slogan Your vision-Our Mission really touches my soul .It is really a meaningful one and a noble cause for their existence . These eye camps are held in conjunction with Ministry of Health,Uganda, Mulago referral Hospital, SAMTA Natural Resources Uganda Ltd and Dr. Agarwal’s Eye Hospital(a reknowned Indian eye hospital in Uganda), which make use of state-of-the-art equipment and an extremely competent pool of Doctors/Specialists.
NICA is guided by certain objectives.
- To identify the major cause of severe visual impairment and blindness among children and adults and offer treatment accordingly.
- To create awareness about preventive measures in order to reduce the risk of eye diseases.
The most notable features of the camps they conduct include free testing/scanning and distribution of optical medicines and spectacles to the unprivileged local community members. In addition, they also provide optical surgeries to those who are on the verge of blindness and also curing the reversible blindness.
The first eye camp was held on New Year’s Day 2016 and forty-seven (47) camps have subsequently been organized with the following vital stats about beneficiaries.
1. No of Free Eye camp held : 48
2. No of camps for Free Cataract Surgeries : 15
3. No of Patients Scanned : 19,142
4. Free Spectacles distributed : 7,060
5. Free Treatment (Medicines) : 7,524
6. Free Cataract Surgeries : 1,093
7. Free Cornea Transplant : 03
8. Cataract Diagnosed : 74 (Treatment Pending)
Modus Operandi: They have a team of three to four members who are entrusted with the task of identifying and selecting slum areas suitable for organizing the camps by communicating with the administration of the locality. Usually, the preferred location is that with a church or school situated in close proximity.
So far, out of total 48 camps the seventeen (17) camps have been held outside Kampala,the capital city of Uganda
• Kikandwas sub country. Mityana; • Sekanyonyo Health Centre –Mityana District; • Rushere Community Hospital –Rushere –Kiruhura District; • Kawolo Hospital ,Lugazi–Mukono; Regional Referral Hospital Fortpotal (twice), • Kasana Helath Centre -Luwero district (thrice). • Rugyeyo Community Hospital-Kanungu (twice) • Benedictine Eye Hospital -Tororo District. • Kalangala Islands Health Centre IV-Kalangala • Kakindu Stadium –Jinja; Health Centre IV,Busia • Maska Regional Referral Hospital-Masaka • Bikurungu Health Centre, Rukingiri
The Honorary Consul of Uganda in Bombay – His Excellency Madhusudhan Agrawal, through his organization SAMTA Natural Resources Uganda has offered free cataract surgeries for unprivileged people in Uganda on continual basis. The Madhvani family (Kakira Sugar) and other donors from different countries along with Indian community in Uganda are continuously supporting these camps. Currently, the association has membership of about 120 Indian expatriates who contribute to the association’s CSR activities as well.
The 1st “Eye Surgery Camp” was held in conjunction with Ministry of Health,Uganda and Mulago Hospital(a hospital in Uganda) on 25th to 27th August 2017, in which 83 Free Cataract surgeries were successfully performed.
Future Course of Action: NICA would like to continue these camps on a periodic basis and raise them onto a National level beyond Kampala. All praises for NICA for the good work you have done .You have made all Indians in this globe feel very proud by spreading the good name across continents. Long live NICA!
Some posters of the recently conducted eye camps in rural Uganda
An newspaper clipping featuring NICA in a local newspaper in Uganda
Website address: ww.nica.org
Facebook Page: North Indian Cultural Association of Uganda
Chairperson : Mr Dharmendra Agarwal
Address: Plot No. 35, Coffee House (Beautiful Living),
P.O.Box 31082, Jinja Road, Kampala, Uganda
Tele/Fax: +256 41 434 9679