In 1985, the Scientific Exploration Society in Britain organized and promoted the international program, Operation Raleigh. This project, centered around the 1600 ton flagship “Sir Walter Raleigh,” was a four-year program that covered 19 countries in six continents. The ship sailed across the world as a logistic support vessel, while various organizations participating in the program followed its route, providing opportunity for exploration, scientific research, and diverse humanitarian work in each of its designated destinations. Through the collaboration of many scientific and humanitarian organizations, hundreds of Operation Raleigh’s participants, called “Venturers,” were able to conduct valuable research and provide humanitarian services to individuals in need across the globe.
After being selected as a humanitarian participant of Operation Raleigh in 1985, SEE began building a team of doctors and nurses that would disperse to 12 of its proposed international locations. SEE’s surgical teams were prepared to travel to various countries around the world for three to four months at a time, where they would provide community aid by establishing short term surgical eye clinics in rural areas.
Through this mission, our volunteer medical teams were able to offer eyecare and sight restoration surgeries to hundreds of indigents, not only freeing them from blindness, but relieving their families of the worry and responsibilities of caring for the needlessly blind. One of the operation’s stops was in the Darien region of Panama, where SEE’s team was able to examine and treat over 450 indigent Chocó Indians, and restored sight to 48 of them. As the time invested by each of SEE’s doctors, nurses, and technicians had been donated, along with all medical supplies and resources needed for the mission, all surgeries and services were free for each patient. In a documented proposal for this effort, it was deemed that if the surgeries and services were to be billed accordingly in the U.S., SEE would have provided roughly $3,000,000 worth of vision related services through Operation Raleigh.
Operation Raleigh also allowed SEE the opportunity to network with ophthalmologists around the world. By collaborating with Operation Raleigh and traveling to different countries, SEE introduced our organization to potential global affiliates in hopes of establishing on-going vision restoration programs in these locations even after the program had ended.
As one of our first vivid demonstrations of cooperative international efforts, our organization is proud to have played a role in such an incredible historic milestone. In the following 35 years since Operation Raleigh, SEE International has stayed true to its mission and has continued to work with our generous volunteer physicians to travel internationally restoring sight to individuals all over the world.
Learn about another decade of work: