In 2001, GB established the Prevention of Cataract Blindness Project, which has now become the Grameen GC Eye Care Hospital in Bogra as a social business. A second Eye Care Hospital has now been built in Barisal, in southern Bangladesh, which began operating in April 2009.
Professor Muhammad Yunus and The Green Children opened First Grameen Eye Hospital in Bangladesh on May 12, 2008 Structured as a Social Business Enterprise, Facility Can Potentially Grow To Perform 50,000 Examinations, 10,000 Cataract Operations Annually
[At the inauguration of the Grameen GC Eye Care Hospital]
The first Grameen Green Children Eye Hospital, projected to perform 50,000 eye examinations and 10,000 cataract operations annually, will be opened by 2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Minister of Health of Bangladesh at 4:00 PM on Monday, May 12.
The international pop music duo Milla Sunde and Tom Bevan of The Green Children raised $500,000 from donations and CD/DVD sales for the first eye hospital in Bangladesh. The two highly talented musicians are committed to working to raise funds for a second eye hospital that will require a total of about $1 million to complete.
The Grameen Green Children Eye Hospitals, modeled after the highly successful Aravind eye hospitals in India, will be structured as social business enterprises described in the new book by Professor Yunus, Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism. The Aravind system in India currently does 1.7 million examinations and 250,000 operations a year.
Once the first eye hospital physicians, surgeons and other staff have been trained and fully operational, it will work to become self-sustaining and perform a projected 50,000 eye examinations and 10,000 cataract operations per year.
Both hospitals will charge patients based on their ability to pay, with wealthier clients charged at a slightly higher rate and the poor a little less. Everyone will receive the same high-quality treatment. While all patients will be expected to pay something, no one will be denied care. Those with no funds will be asked to pay later, when they can.
The key to the success of the model is a system that delivers very high quality at an affordable cost by using high volume and having highly trained technicians doing most of the examination and preparation work so that ophthalmologists can focus on the operations. The model has been so successful in India that representatives of some of the leading medical schools in the United States have visited Aravind to bring some of the lessons learned back home.
A rising international band, The Green Children recently signed to the world's largest music label, Universal Music Group. The duo comprises Milla Sunde from Norway and Tom Bevan from England. Their debut record with Universal Records will be launched later this year. In addition to their flourishing music career, Tom and Milla have been working for several years with the foundation they jointly established.
The Green Children Foundation supports microcredit, education and healthcare and is focused on engaging young people in supporting positive and effective solutions to conquer world poverty.
In 2006, The Green Children made their second trip to Bangladesh to film a music video for their song "Hear Me Now", which tells the story of a successful women borrower of Grameen Bank. This video has been used in fundraising for the eye hospitals and will receive a world wide release later this year.
Grameen Bank, and the concept and methodology of micro-credit that it has elaborated through its 30 years of work, have contributed to enhancing the chances of peace by reducing poverty. Grameen Bank Project was founded by Professor Yunus in the village of Jobra, Bangladesh, in 1976. In 1983 it was transformed into a formal bank under a special law passed for its creation. It is owned by the poor borrowers of the bank who are mostly women. It works exclusively for them. Borrowers of Grameen Bank at present own 94 per cent of the total equity of the bank. Remaining 6 percent is owned by the government. Dr. Yunus and the Grameen Bank jointly received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway, in December 2006.