Written by Ashley Holm, Seva Canada Donor Relations & Operations Manager
I had the privilege of going to Cambodia for the first time in January, it was truly a gift to see the impact you, our generous donors, are making every day in the lives of so many Cambodians. On this trip I met Doung Loum, an 82-year-old senior monk from Banteay Meanchey.

He shared with me that he began having issues with his vision 10 years ago, when he started struggling to read from The Tipitaka, the sacred text of Theravada Buddhism. As his eyesight diminished he had to rely on the younger monks to guide him around the Wat (a Buddhist monastery) and prepare food for him. As his vision continued to worsen he began to lose hope in ever reading The Tipitaka with his own eyes again.

Doung Loum Cambodian Monk with an eye patch photo by Dr. John Judson.jpg

Doung Loum after his second sight-restoring cataract surgery. ©Dr. John Judson

Last year, Doung Loum was encouraged to visit the community eye screening at the Wat where a Seva field worker was providing eye exams. The field worker referred him to the Eye Unit at the hospital in Banteay Meanchey, where he was diagnosed with bilateral cataract. That day he received his first life-changing surgery.

Doung Loum Buddhist Monk in Cambodia smiling after patch removed photo by Dr. John Judson.jpg

Doung Loum after his eye patch was removed. ©Dr. John Judson

“It is like the angel has come to save me and

now I can see again!”

When I met him, he had come back to the hospital to receive surgery for his second eye, and he could hardly contain his joy in getting his eyesight fully restored. As his eye patch was removed he exclaimed “It is like the angel has come to save me and now I can see again!” He was so overjoyed he invited us to
the Wat to hear him read aloud from The Tipitaka. I can still hear the joy in his voice as he read to us.

Doung Loum Cambodian Monk Reading the sacred text by Dr, John Judson.jpg

Doung Loum reading The Tipitaka. ©Dr. John Judson

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