Continuing philanthropic missions begun by its late founder, members of New York’s family-owned Zara Realty, based in Jamaica, Queens, have completed their 25th trip to provide vital medical care to residents of Guyana.
Zara Realty said on Thursday that a team, led by renowned United States surgeon Dr. Rahul Jindal of the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C., recently carried out 16 corneal transplants for Guyanese residents suffering from eye disease.
The medical team was accompanied by Zara Realty family members, including Tony Subraj, son of Zara founder George Subraj, who pioneered the medical missions.
Tony was recently honored at the South Asian Sports Network’s World Cup softball tournament for this philanthropic work.
Zara Realty said doctors have also performed 34 kidney transplants and have helped many patients through dialysis since George spearheaded and founded the philanthropic efforts in 1992.
The medical care and the travel are entirely funded by the Subraj Foundation, whose efforts resulted in Guyana’s first ever kidney transplant in 2008, Zara Realty said.
“Doctors not only fly equipment in but also [fly in] corneas for transplant,” it said. “Due to a lack of modern medical technology and facilities, these types of procedures are desperately needed in the South American nation [and Caribbean Community – CARICOM-member state] but simply not available, leading to significant suffering.
“The procedures, considered routine in the United States, are too expensive for the majority of the Guyanese population,” Zara Realty added.
On the most recent mission, it said more than 300 people were screened for eye health.
Zara Realty said the Subraj Foundation also donated over US$40,000 worth of medical equipment to Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), the nation’s largest public hospital, including an 87-piece surgical instrument set.
As part of its medical missions, the Subraj family has funded 60 corneal and 34 kidney transplants over the past nine years, Zara Realty said.
“It has literally brought vision to those sliding into blindness, and has saved lives by implanting new kidneys and supplying life-saving medicines,” it said.
After George died in November 2016, family members, including Tony, took over and continued his proud charitable legacy, Zara Realty said.
“My father felt a strong need to help people, and that has been instilled in our family as we carry on this vital work,” Tony Subraj said. “Meeting those whose lives were saved or whose sight was restored is incredibly humbling and reminds me that there is no greater calling in life than helping those in need.”
Zara Realty said the patients are treated at GPHC, and the visiting US physicians make regular follow-up visits to check on their progress and perform further procedures when necessary.
The real estate firm said George Subraj, who migrated from Guyana in 1971, worked for years at odd jobs for low pay in New York City.
In 1982, he turned to real estate, buying his first property with his brothers Ken and Jay in Jamaica, Queens.
“Today, the firm he dared to create, and which has never sold a building it purchased in Queens, has grown to include 2.6 million square feet of residential real estate, concentrated largely in Southeast Queens, an area 21 minutes from Manhattan by rail and 10 minutes from JFK Airport,” Zara Realty said.
“The company is one of New York’s largest providers of affordable housing, and it has grown along with the rise of Jamaica and the surrounding areas as one of New York City’s most rapidly expanding communities,” it added.