Artist: Manju Dhat
Manju Dhat has worked with many non-profits, including UN Volunteers, explorASIAN and her lifetime project, the Dhata Foundation. In her own words…
My family-run, grass-roots Foundation currently caters to the impoverished people of Punjab, India. We fund cataract/lens replacement surgeries at no cost to those who cannot afford the procedure. Bear in mind that the realities in developing nations are not the same as those in westernized countries. People go blind for many reasons, including lack of food and clean water, as well as environmental conditions. Many of these sight-impaired people become reliant on their family members to help them where those members could be bringing in that $1 a day to contribute to daily necessities such as food. By enabling “vision” with these surgeries, these people become independent and functional contributors to their homestead and to the society in which they live. It’s a domino effect really. According to the latest assessment by the World Health Organization:
“…age related cataract is responsible for 48% of world blindness, which represents about 18 million people.”
Imagine, it costs only $37 to give someone back his or her eyesight. I don’t know what I would do if I could not see – if I were unable to express myself through the love of painting and the act of creating – if I were not able to see the true beauty in the world. So, “vision” is an obvious mission in life for me and my major motivation for contributing to Dhata Foundation.
I am a graphic/web designer by day and an Etsian/painter by night. I have been a designer for nine years and an artist all my life. My favorite materials with which to paint are oils, canvas, door skin and sometimes walls! In my collective at Kaur Funktion, we sell handmade glass pendants, cufflinks, unusual beads, art prints, and art cards. (Kaur means princess and/or lioness in Punjabi.) Each artist has his or her individual specialty and unique talents, and yet we are all bound by the common belief that art can indeed save lives.
Eventually, the offerings from this website will allow me to pursue my humanitarian goals and further my social intentions through my own artistic and business practice. Art can be labeled on many levels, but I think it is the act of creating that drives me to invest my time in something that contributes to the beauty and inspiration that the world has to offer. By creating a business of artistic practices with other like-minded individuals, I hope to nurture and pursue these humanitarian interests.
Editor’s note: Manj’s lifelong endeavor: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi. Is there ANY question in your mind that she will achieve this and much, much more LONG before the sunset of her life?
Manj is giving away one of her wonderful prints to one lucky winner. To enter, all you need to do is go to KaurFunktion, and post your favorite item in the comments below.
This giveaway will begin October 14, 2009 and end at 11:59 pm EST on October 20, 2009. Random.org will be used to pick the winner, and he or she will have 72 hours to get respond.
This giveaway is open worldwide! Good luck!