Mrs. Pil Sam is a 74-year-old widow from Cambodia. She and her daughter are farmers, and together they work a small plot of land growing rice and vegetables.The family is very poor, but life became even more challenging when Pil Sam began to go blind.

Pil Sam smiling at camera with a visible cataract in left eye

Pil Sam's cataract

She couldn’t do the most basic things on her own, like cook, eat, or use the washroom. Robbed of her independence, Pil Sam needed constant care. Her daughter often stayed home from work to look after her, because it was dangerous to leave Pil Sam alone; she frequently got burned just cooking rice. For many years Pil Sam was miserable about her blindness. She wanted to retreat into isolation so that she would not be a burden.

Her daughter insisted on looking after Pil Sam. She wanted to take her mother to a hospital to find a cure for her blindness, but the family had no money, so treatment seemed impossible.

One day a neighbour learned of a Seva eye camp nearby, where you could receive free eye examinations and cataract surgery. When Pil Sam heard about the camp, she was hesitant, frightened of surgery and injections. Her daughter convinced her to go, if only to be examined, and she reluctantly agreed.

Pil Sam after surgery with a  bandage over her left eye

Pil Sam after surgery

Early one morning Pil Sam was taken to the camp, with her daughter at her side. There, an ophthalmologist explained that she had bilateral cataracts, and this could be easily fixed with an operation lasting just 15 minutes per eye. Given hope for the future, she followed the doctor’s advice and agreed to surgery. She had cataract surgery on her right eye that afternoon, and on her left the next day.

When all her bandages were removed Pil Sam smiled brightly – her vision was restored!

Now able to see, Pil Sam was excited to do all the things she had missed during her years spent in darkness. She couldn't wait to walk by herself, take care of her grandchildren, and visit the local pagoda. She was very grateful for this new life, not just for herself but for her daughter. As they left the camp Pil Sam and her daughter went back home with joy, saying again and again, “Thank you so much!”

Pil Sam with prayer hands smiling at camera

Aw koon, Thank you from Pil Sam!


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