As a Seva supporter, you help bring eye care to remote regions of the world. Today, we bring a story back to you of Khem Kumari, as told by Seva Nepal's Program Director Ram Prasad Kandel:
I met Khem Kumari at Bharatpur Eye Hospital (BEH), a Seva-founded hospital in the Chitwan District of Nepal that serves 6 districts of remote villages in the hills. The ophthalmologists at BEH average an astounding 50 sight-restoring cataract surgeries per day.
The day I met Khem, the hospital, like all days, was a hive of activity. There were 300 outpatients waiting for surgery or recovering.
Among the patients was a group of 25 people from a remote hill district called Baundada waiting for care. Khem Kumari was one of them.
Khem looks much older than her 64 years. She is shy and poor but is a proud and beautiful woman. She has 5 children and the family struggles to make ends meet but she is known in her village for being generous with her time and the little money she has.
For the last 10 years, her vision has been declining. Though she can recognize her friends when they are close to her face, she struggles with day to day activities. Cooking meals is particularly hard. She often got headaches from squinting while trying to sort rice, and as her vision deteriorated, she began to burn her hands and was forced to stop cooking. This was extremely difficult for Khem; being stuck at home unable to see her friends and family and help out caused her to become depressed and withdrawn. She was also saddened that she could no longer gaze out at the beautiful mountains that surround her home.
Khem was not aware that she could be helped. She thought that her blindness was forever and she had given up hope of ever seeing the people and mountains that she loved.
Until a Seva community eye screening came to her area.
At the screening, Khem was diagnosed with bilateral cataracts and referred to the Bharatpur Eye Hospital for surgery.
When her bandages first came off, a slow smile crept across Khem's face. She gazed around the room and as her eyes adjusted to the light she became more and more excited. Finally, she turned to her doctor in amazement and exclaimed, "I can see again like I could before!"
"I can see again like I could before!"
Khem could not wait to get home. She was excited to see her family and eager to see her home and the mountains after a decade. Most of all, she was thrilled that she could be helpful again, that she could prepare meals with her family, that she could assist her neighbour in sorting the rice, and that she could have her old life back.
As she got ready to depart, Khem thanked the doctors and the donors that made it possible for her to see clearly again.
Because of you, Khem can enjoy the stunning Nepali mountains around her home, help her friends and see the faces of her children. On behalf of Khem, and so many others like her, thank you for giving them the power of sight.