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Photo courtesy of Zara Realty
Photo courtesy of Zara Realty
Anthony Subraj is honored at the Indian Diaspora Council International celebration of the end of the Indian indenture system. Left to right: Counsel General of Guyana Barbara Atherly, Anthony Subraj, Vrinda S. Jagan and Gloria Subraj

A Queens-based organization is making a difference not just in the city, but also abroad.

The Subraj Foundation was started by the late George Subraj, who founded Zara Realty in 1982. Headed by George and his business partners, Jay Sobhraj and Ken Subraj, the organization sought to provide medical and educational services locally and overseas.

Anthony Subraj, George’s son, took over the Subraj Foundation after his father passed away.

“My father started the foundation many years ago because a strong will to give back the community that he does business in and in Guyana,” Anthony Subraj said. “I joined after my father passed to help the dream live on.”

Since 1992, the Subraj Foundation has brought pioneering doctors and technology from leading American hospitals to conduct corneal transplants for impoverished people in Guyana who have little or no access to this type of medical care.

The Subraj Foundation was recently honored for decades worth of charitable work by the Indian Diaspora Council International, which recognized the medical missions it has sponsored in Guyana, including the country’s first-ever kidney transplant.

“We send trained doctors and surgeons to do kidney and corneal transplant surgeries, and then provide training to local doctors in Guyana so they can do it on their own,” Anthony Subraj said. “We have a mission coming on the first week of May where we’re going to provide kidney and cornea transplants. We’re also sending down 700 pairs of eyeglasses and performing eye screenings to diagnose problems with the local residents.”

While George Subraj pioneered the medical outreach, Jay Sobhraj took on the educational outreach. With Jay Sobhraj’s support, the Subraj Foundation is able to provide computer labs, education centers and scholarships to local schools.

Recently, the Subraj Foundation gave a $5,000 grant to the Champalakshmi Narottamdas Lakhani School in India, which is named for Vibha Subraj’s grandmother. The school, which opened in February 2018, is housed in a brand-new, three-story building that serves grades 1 through 8. With the grant, the school was able to purchase the latest technologies for the students.

The Subraj Foundation has also built 12 educational centers in Guyana and equipped New York schools, including Queens’ own Richmond Hill High School, with state-of-the-art computer labs.

“Whether it is building schools, so tomorrow’s future leaders can be educated for the world they will inherit or bringing vital medical treatment to parts of the world where people can’t afford life-saving care, it is so important for those blessed with good fortune to give back,” Anthony Subraj said. “That is what my father taught me and what Vibha learned from generations of her own family.”

On March 18, the Indian Diaspora Council International honored the late George Subraj and his family at a ceremony in at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village. The event marked the 100th anniversary of end of the Indian indenture system, in which people from India were sent to various locations throughout the British Empire, including Guyana, as debt-bonded servants. They were honored near luminaries such as the late Cheddi B. Jagan, a leading figure in Guyana’s independence from Great Britain and that country’s president from 1992 to 1997.

“My father had a motto, which was to do good and be good,” Subraj said. “We try to continue with that same motto as we move forward.”

For more information about the Subraj Foundation, call 718-291-3331.

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