Bangladesh is a beautiful country full of captivating scenery. When they went to meet their patient, our volunteers were welcomed by the whole village including children from every family wearing lovely smiles on their faces. While such warmth has the power to melt any heart, it sadly cannot cure the 40,000 Bangladesh children who suffer from blindness because of poverty and insufficient medical facilities.
After six hours travelling on an unimaginably bumpy road, our team finally arrived at the village of Jakir Hussain. While the oldest sister in her family and entrusted with taking care of her brother and sister, Jakir is a very shy girl. Four years ago, white spots began to develop in her eyes and rob her off her sight. Feeling even more self-conscious, Jakir has stayed indoors ever since. Although maths was always her favorite subject at school, her blurry vision meant it had become almost impossible for her to understand the concepts the teacher wrote on the blackboard.
While the local village doctor lacked the skills to cure Jakir, he did know enough to recommend she seek help in the country's capital. Unfortunately, Jakir’s father, Kutub's lowly wages as a farmer meant he could not hope to feed his family and take his daughter all the way for treatment. Having been forced to live with her blindness for some time, Jakir and her family’s world was further ripped apart when both of her siblings developed similar cataract symptoms to her own.
In 2008, ORBIS worked with partner hospital Moulvibazar Hospital to open Bangladesh's first ever pediatric sight saving program. It remains the only facility of its kind for many miles.
When he heard about the program, Kutub subsequently sought help from ORBIS' partner hospital. All three children were eventually diagnosed as having congenital cataracts that simple surgeries to replace a clear lens could easily cure. Determined not to create financial burdens Kutub could never hope to pay, the hospital carried out all three operations for free.
As the first to receive surgery, Jakir is now fully recovered. When her brother and sister followed her to the same operating theater for their own operations. Jakir and her parents visited them every day. Like Jakir, they too are now looking forward to a brighter future!