A Promise to Peru is excited to share with our supporters the details of our first mission held within the United States.   After many years of attempting to establish a relationship with Native American communities in the USA, we were able to join forces with several other non-profit organizations to serve the Native American community of Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.  The mission was named Native Eyes.  A Promise to Peru was able to join this team of 35 people.  Thanks to an invitation from the leaders of Native Eyes, Raymond P. Dennis, M.A., Professor of Ophthalmic Design & Dispensing at Middlesex Community College, Connecticut and Wendy Black-Nasta, Founder & Executive Director, of Artists for World Peace artistsforworldpeace.org/native-eyes .  The team included eye care professionals from Vision Health International visionhealth.org/2017/10/rosebud-indian-reservation-sd, Middlesex Community College, and A Promise to Peru.

A total of 1,234 people were seen and thanks to the generosity of Essilor, 900 pairs of distance, reading and bifocal glasses are being custom made for these patients, free of charge!  

There was a tremendous need for eyeglasses- the amount of astigmatism was extreme- none of the ophthalmologists had seen that level of cylinder – in many cases over 5 diopters!  The organizers of the mission focused on advertising to the younger population – they are doing poorly in school and given their need for glasses it is no wonder that they are not seeing well.  Next year, the emphasis will be placed on getting the older population to the facility for an exam and visiting the nursing homes.  There is a need for eye care specialists  -just not surgery at this point.  There also appears to be a need for medical and dental clinics, a meeting with the tribal council is being planned in August.

The link for the local news video about Native Eyes:  keloland.com/news/article

A film crew who is creating a documentary film and a professor of English from Connecticut chronicled our week.  Details of the mission can be read here.

The reservation is one of the poorest counties in the USA, the unemployment rate is over 50%, the suicide rate is extremely high and life expectancy is in the 50’s.  Background reading about Rosebud Indian Reservation can be found below.




In summary, it was a tremendously worthwhile mission.  Our organization has the potential to have a positive, sustainable effect on this Native American community within our own boarders and that is an exciting opportunity!  A Promise to Peru’s team was composed of Dr. Debra Messina, Dr. Bill Epstein, Dr. Pranav Patel, Nicholas Coritsidis and Neil Patel.   We thank them for their participation and dedication.

We will keep all of our supporters posted on our next trip to South Dakota and we hope that you will be able to join us.

Thank you to artistsforworldpeace.org for the beautiful photos!

Dr. P Patel examining a patient for eyeglasses.

Nicholas Coritsidis and Neil Patel measured patient’s glass prescriptions for the doctors, over 1,200 patients were seen in the clinic.

Demonstration of the Grass Dance, this is performed in the fields to press the tall grasses down in order to prepare the soil for planting


Denise One Star demonstrating The Jingle Dance, her outfit is made of beads made from rolled chewing tobacco tin lids.

Thunderstorm on the South Dakota