A Heart-breaking Insight Into The Reality of Poverty Blindness
When Murathi Parsi of the Kapilavastu District of Nepal went blind, surgery was out of reach. Despite living only one hour away from an eye hospital, the family simply did not have NRS 8,000 (approx USD 70) needed for her surgery. Her husband and her son, both daily wage earners, had to make do with odd jobs in construction. With almost seven mouths to feed along with some household debt, saving up the amount needed for Murathi’s operation seemed like an insurmountable task.
Lucky for Murathi, one day when her husband was visiting her daughter’s home in Butwal, they heard of an upcoming Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation eye-camp in Lumbini. He noted the date down — 27th March, 2021.
When the day come, he put his wife on his bicycle, and duly made the one-and-a-half hour ride to the Royal Thai Monastery — where patients were being screened. At the screening camp, eye health assistants working with the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation identified her double cataracts, and told Murathi to come for her free surgery on the 30th of March. After receiving a paper which confirmed her scheduled operation for the 30th, Murathi Parsi’s husband put her on his cycle again, and took her back home.
The next day, a team from the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation visited Murathi’s home — a small home with three rooms and plenty of neighbourhood children to greet the team.
Murathi says of her experience:
“Its onset was triggered when I was working in the fields almost 3 years ago. I remember experiencing headache when all of a sudden I fell down in the field. In the days that passed, I remember losing my sight rapidly”, she tells us.
At her lowest point, all she could make out were hazy figures moving around her. Murathi was dependent upon her husband, her daughter-in-law, and her grandchildren for food, water and other things.
“In the mornings, my granddaughters help me get ready. Sometimes, they get late for school”. The grandchildren also have several other household chores — and taking care of Parsi is additional work.
In a heartbreaking insight, she says that some days when she was eating, the local dogs would come and take food from her plate. Her husband adds: “I am a daily wage earner. Some days, when I have to sit home to take care of her, I have to forfeit a paid job. It becomes very difficult”.
On the day of the surgery, Murathi Parsi and her husband arrive on time. With a sense of occasion, she is draped in a beautiful saree. “My granddaughters chose this for me”, she tells us.
Her ever supportive husband is still beside her, and assists her all the way up till health assistants take her to be anesthetized.
Just 15 minutes inside the operating theatre, the world-renowned eye surgeon Dr. Ruit has removed both of her cataracts and she is being bandaged.
The next morning, patients are taken to the iconic Buddha Maya Temple — the exact birthplace of Lord Buddha. Murathi Parsi is stunned in the beginning — she hadn’t imagined that she would be able to see this clearly so fast. She thanks Dr. Ruit and meets her husband. Both turn towards Maya Devi Temple to offer their prayers and thank their blessings.
Tej Kohli is a technologist and investor who is best known for his mission to cure blindness through the Tej Kohli Foundation and the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation. Tej Kohli regularly shares his thoughts and wisdom on Medium and on Twitter using the hashtag #TejTalks. Tej Kohli’s blog is #TejTalks and he is the author of Rebuilding You: The Philanthropy Handbook.