L V P E I Experience - L V Prasad Eye Institute

From tragedy springs hope for many

Miriam Hyman Memorial Trust

It was in early November 2007 that Mavis and John Hyman from London contacted Dr Gullapalli N Rao (Chairman, LVPEI group) about the possibility of a private donation. They had in mind a grant for a pediatric unit. It was just 16 months since the L V Prasad Eye Institute at Bhubaneswar had been set up. The children’s eye care centre had yet to take off – the Institute was in search of a philanthropic offer. The enquiry was a godsend.

Miriam Hyman

John and Mavis Hyman, both in their 70s, had two daughters – Esther and Miriam. In July 2005, Miriam, just 32, was killed in the London bombings of 7/7. Warm-hearted, generous, and talented, Miriam had touched many hearts in her short life. Seeking to do something meaningful in her name, the Hyman family set up a restricted fund within ORBIS, UK, and with the help of friends, organized a series of fund-raising events (www.miriam-hyman.com).

As an artist Miriam was profoundly aware of the value of the sense of sight. One of her favourite pastimes was walking in the countryside, and with the aid of spectacles for distance, she was able to enjoy the environment she loved and respected. Hence the family decided to support a vision charity. The Trustees of the Miriam Hyman Memorial Trust thought that their funds could best be used directly by service providers in a developing country, and money from the Miriam Hyman Memorial Fund, together with compensation received from the Mayor of London’s London Bombings Fund, was transferred to LVPEI.

The Miriam Hyman Children’s Eye Care Centre (MHCECC) on LVPEI’s Bhubaneswar campus was inaugurated on July 3, 2008, coinciding with the campuses’ second anniversary. The Centre is a comprehensive children’s eye care unit, reaches out to all children from across the state of Orissa regardless of the ability to pay, covering a population of about 50 million. The vision is to build capacity until the Centre becomes a dedicated children’s institute. An education centre is also planned to develop human resources in eye care service provision in India and the developing world.

At the inauguration ceremony in Bhubaneswar, Esther said, “It’s difficult to express our feelings when it was suggested that the Children’s Eye Care Centre would be named after Miriam. Miriam was a positive person and we had to honour the way she lived. In her lifetime she sowed seeds of caring and generosity, and it is our duty to help those seeds flourish. With this partnership between LVPEI, the Miriam Hyman Memorial Trust and the newly-created Miriam Hyman Children’s Eye Care Centre we feel that we are fulfilling that destiny.”

Child patients playing at the Miriam Hyman
Children’s Eye Care Centre

“Miriam would support the fact that treatment is available to patients irrespective of the ability to pay, so that any child who presents with any eye care issue will be treated. This also reflects how Miriam was; she had a way of making every person feel valued, wanted and loved, and we hope that this will continue through the work of the Miriam Hyman Children’s Eye Care Centre. We would like to pledge the ongoing support of the Miriam Hyman Memorial Trust to the Centre.”

Dr Rao’s vision is that every child in Orissa who needs any form of eye care should have access to the highest quality of eye care through the Miriam Hyman Children’s Eye Care Centre. “The donation coming from a middle-class retired couple is an inspiring tale of generosity. We are fortunate to be recipients of such help as we evolve more to undertake greater responsibilities for the elimination of needless visual impairment,” he declared.