Second chance to sight, second chance to life
80 year old, Buhari Chaudhary lives in the Bara District of Nepal. Throughout her life, she has raised a family, took care of a household and always wished when her time came to settle, she’d do so with ease and comfort. She dreamt of drinking tea with neighbours and playing with grandchildren.
With these dreams in mind, Bahari has spent over a year and a half suffering with blindness due to cataracts. Instead of playing with grandchildren and great grandchildren, the younger members of the family were now assisting her with daily tasks such as going to the toilet.
Buhari and her family reside in a small, marginalised village with limited resources and services. Saddened by her loss of sight, she spent her days sleeping, often throughout the entire afternoon.
Struggling to see a way out of the struggle, a screening team working with the Tej Kolhi and Ruit Foundation visited her village. Buhari’s grandson took full advantage of this and, although doubtful she could be cured, decided to take her to be checked by a medical team. The eye assessment showed that she was suffering from cataracts and she was invited to free surgery in a village two hours away.
On the day of the surgery, Buhari travelled to the village, accompanied by her grandson and granddaughter. At the surgical camp, there were 300 others all gathered for the same reason, to be cured.
The Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology was commissioned and worked with the foundation throughout this mission. With all this set up, the team conducted biometric exams before ushering patients into the makeshift operating theatres.
The operating theatre, co-founder, Dr Ruit’s surgical delivery system, was assembled a day before the surgery. The medical team was led by Dr Govinda Paudyal. He and his team operated on hundreds of patients over the course of the short visit, changing their lives for the better.
Co-founder Dr. Ruit, who has taken his microsurgical camps to remote and inaccessible communities across the developing world throughout his career, has restored sight to thousands of people living with preventable blindness. In 2021, he co-founded the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation with Mr Tej Kohli, a British investor and philanthropist. Both believe that investment in sight restoration programs has the ability to lead the world out of extreme poverty. The partnership, as of April, 2022, has cured 15,614 people of needless blindness whilst taking their outreach camps to some of the most marginalised communities of Nepal.
Buhari’s surgery was conducted by Dr Govinda Paudyal on 25th March, 2022. The following day, after her patches were removed, she could see clearly again.
Dr Paudyal asked her to hold her grandson’s nose, to which without any effort or visual impairment reached out and held his nose. The family celebrated and thanked the doctor for the incredible work that they had done. The family showed a sense of wholeness and happiness – something that they hadn’t seen in a while.
Buhari was allowed to go home the same day, following a post-op session. As she and her family were leaving she stated: “I look forward to seeing my great grandchildren, and roaming my village without any assistance”.
The Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation are continuing on their mission to screen one million and cure between 300,000 – 500,000 of preventable blindness in the developing world. The team are busy preparing to take another outreach camp to Manang, a remote Himalayan district, comprising several small and suffering communities.
This story, along with many others, showcase what the foundation is constantly achieving. With the goal to screen and cure thousands more, it is clear that the efforts are working well.