Children
 Pakistan
Project #14597

Sight for 2.6 Mn. poor blind children in Pakistan

by The Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust
Vetted
Ali Husnain - Pre and post Surgery
Ali Husnain - Pre and post Surgery

Children are a source of happiness and hope – the essence of our future. We dream through them and of them; all that we could not achieve on our own, seems possible through them. They fill the world with their laughter, cheer and love.

 

8 year old Ali Husnain was a student of grade 1 – a happy, care free child whose parents – though poor – were putting in everything they had, into educating him so that he could have a better future and not suffer the way they did. Ali was the son of a mechanic, who lived in a rented house and supported a family of 9. The only son, Ali has four sisters and his grandparents – whose old age made them also dependent on the meager income of his father. Living in a small house, they all share a small space. Their room is also their kitchen and their living room.

 

One unfortunate day, their dreams of a better tomorrow shattered as the young boy, while playing with a knife left around unattended, poked himself in the eye with it. The result was catastrophic.

 

‘It couldn’t be happening to me. I could hear the screams of my siblings, the cries of my mother, the silence of my father and the gazes of my grandparents on me. I realized much later – I was holding my breath and clenching my fists. My father had to pry them open. I burst into tears when he finally hugged me close – I could not hold on any longer.’

Ali’s parents rushed him to a local private hospital where they were told that he needed an immediate surgery. The risk of the surgery and the shock of the situation aside, the cost of the surgery was so high that both – Ali’s mum and dad had to make innumerable calls to relatives and friends and borrow from every possible source. Costing Rs. 150,000/-, Ali’s primary surgery did take place but it left his parents heavily indebted o many.

 

To make matters worse, they were told he needed further surgeries. After going through with a couple more, they were told that he needed one last surgery that would give him back his vision.

Left penniless and with no more sources from whom they could borrow, Ali’s parent’s finally had to admit defeat and take Ali home. Hopeless and depressed, they hardly knew how to console themselves, let alone explain the new way of life to the young Ali.

‘It was the darkest period of my life’, Ali’s father remembers having to support his emotional wife and a young confused son who needed his support. He felt helpless – not being able to help him the way he should.

It was by mere chance and luck that while out to run errands in the market, Ali’s father heard of LRBT. Though not many details were given, it was enough for him to understand that it was a remarkable facility where eye care surgeries and services were free of cost for the poor of the country.

He rushed Ali to the nearest LRBT hospital where the ease of the process and support given by the management was astounding.

Ali’s last surgery was done free of cost and he is now able to see again. Having been so close to darkness, Ali has embraced the light with a new zeal. He works harder than ever before and has become the best student of his class. Smiling from ear to ear, he looks at the camera with great confidence as her shares his dream of becoming a doctor one day.

‘I want to help others the way LRBT helped me’, Ali confides. ‘If it takes all my effort, so be it!’

An able and active member of the society, Ali is set on a road that should lead him to places. LRBT has not just touched his life but the lives of the innumerable many that he will in turn change.

Ali
Ali's eye examination
Ali - back at  school
Ali - back at school

Links:

Zohara-1
Zohara-1

LRBT is committed to creating a better Pakistan by preventing the suffering caused by blindness and other eye ailments. To this end it will provide state of the art comprehensive free eye-care in keeping with its tradition of excellence, efficiency and compassion for all.

30 years later the vision of Graham Layton & Zaka Rahmatulla is a reality and their legacy is a nationwide network of 18 purpose-built hospitals, with state of the art equipment and 55 clinics in all the 4 provinces. With our network and resources, we have been able to reduce blindness in Pakistan by 50%.

Thank you for your generous donation that helped us extend services to 1740 patients whose lives have been transformed by the touch of sight. Amongst them is our 31st millionth patient – Zohara, whose heart wrenching story is shared here:

Zohara is a 12 year old daughter of an old farmer Ibrahim of Tando Allahyaar whose wife expired last year leaving behind 6 children: Two married sons and one daughter who live separately and Zohara and her two young brothers living with Ibrahim, one of them is mentally handicapped. Zohara is an unfortunate child:  She is not only a victim of poverty and illiteracy but has to handle responsibilities much beyond her tender age. While girl’s her age are either going to school or at play she wakes up early in the morning to take care of her family and house.

Life was already not a bed of roses for her and to top it something dreadful happened. While Zohara was collecting firewood a stick struck her right eye injuring it badly. She was taken to a nearby hakeem who used traditional remedies to relieve her pain but the eye problem continued. The constant pain in her eye, redness and tearing continued nonstop. To cap this her vision began to deteriorate. The entire household routine was disrupted. Zohara’s father was very worried. He could not afford any medical treatment as he was already under debt owing to his wife’s prolonged illness and then death. They lived in a mud house consisting of two rooms with no electricity or gas. He was the only bread earner for the family of 4 as the elder sons could not pitch in as they had their own families to support. With his limited income he was barely able to provide two meals a day to his children.

Ibrahim felt devastated and the feeling of helplessness was eating him from the inside. He already felt guilty at burdening Zohara, his princess, with such huge responsibilities and now this. Ibrahim had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. All his requests for a  loan were declined. As a last resort he went to the same landlord who had given him a  loan for his wife. He respected Ibrahim for his hard work and simplicity but would not offer further financial help. When he inquired about why he needed the loan Ibrahim shared Zohara’s ailment. The landlord told him to go to LRBT’s Rashidabad hospital and also shared the best news that he had heard in years that LRBT provides  free eye care for the poor. Ibrahim breathed a huge sigh of relief and felt as if a great weight has been lifted off his shoulders. He thanked his master and came home.

Early next morning he left his other children with his elder daughter and took Zohara to LRBT Rashidabad. Throughout his journey he kept praying that this was not a mirage, that LRBT would not turn out to be an NGO which while advertising free treatment actually charged money from poor. He only had Rs.600 in his pocket and was relying on God to take care of the rest. When they reached LRBT Rashidabad, Ibrahim had his set of concerns and Zohara, being only a child had hers. She was scared of the hospital and doctors and what would happen. After a complete eye examination the doctors diagnosed traumatic cataract and gave her an immediate date of surgery. When Ibrahim was assured that everything will be done for free he started crying out of happiness and hugged Zohara reciting verses of thankfulness to God and LRBT.

Zohara’s surgery was successful, her eye sight is now normal. For Ibrahim and Zohra it was like Eid. They were touched by the care and affection shown by the hospital staff. Ibrahim kept thanking each staff member that passed by with folded hands and saying that her future is again bright only because of LRBT.

I didn’t know I was so strong until I was tested again and again. My aim in life now is to raise my brothers the way my mother wanted. I will help my father in every way to make my youngest brother independent and educated so he has a better life than what we are living. If there were more institutes like LRBT then poor people like me won’t  have to suffer and go through the hardships like we did looking for free medical help. Thank you LRBT for helping me to be productive again and saving me from a life of darkness and dependency. I will now be able to help my old father and young brothers who need me the most and it’s all because of LRBT-Zohra

 

http://www.lrbt.org.pk/

http://www.lrbt.org.pk/lrbt-treats-its-31st-million-patient-zohara-from-tando-allahyaar/

Zohara-2
Zohara-2
Zohara-3
Zohara-3
Zohara-4
Zohara-4

Links:

Respected Supporters,

Thanks a lot for your continuous support towards our cause of eradicating ccurable blindness specially among poor children in Pakistan.

You will indeed be very happy to know that with your help we have been so far able to treat over 31Million patients and transformed lives of more than 18Million beneficiaries direct and indirect.You will also be happy to find out that our 31st Million patient is a child by the name of Zohra from Tando Bago.She had pricked her eye while collecting wood for stove and accidentally injured her eye badly.Her surgery recovered her lost vision.

Her complete story along with other latest updates can be found on our website www.lrbt.org.pk

Lrbt management and team remains indebted for your support and generosity.

Links:

Tahir is a 15 year old boy who had cataract in both his eyes since he was 8. His teachers often pointed out the issue to his parents and asked them to get his eyes checked, however due to financial constraints they did not take him to a doctor and instead used local remedies, which obviously didn’t work. Ultimately his vision became so poor that he was dropped out of school and needed support for performing every day chores as he could not even walk independently.

A couple of days back Tahir was taken to a local government hospital in emergency due to high fever where the doctors after examining and treating him called for an ophthalmologist for getting his eyes examined. The doctor diagnosed him with hyper mature Cataract that needed immediate surgery costing Rs. 40,000/- The family was stunned to hear this as they were people living below the poverty line and had never in their lives saved this kind of money. Belonging to a farmer family, his father’s only income was the share of crops he received from his landlord.


The dejected family was returning home from the hospital in a public transport and as Tahir sat beside his brother with tearful eyes, a passenger sitting next to him asked him the reason. His brother narrated the whole story to the man. Fortunately that man knew about a free eye care facility in Gambat and told Tahir’s brother to take him there. Tahir and his brother were overjoyed hearing this and went to Gambat two days later. At LRBT Gambat hospital Tahir was thoroughly examined and as a special case was admitted for his cataract surgery to be performed the next day.

By the grace of Almighty he was successfully operated with intra ocular Lens IOL transplant, free of cost. Upon his post operative examination, though in a little pain, he was delighted to be able to see again.

His family was lost for words to thank the staff and donors of the hospital. LRBT had brought back hope in their lives when they had lost it all. The family with tears in their eyes prayed for the longevity and welfare of the trust and said it’s a beacon of hope for the poor and wretched.

Links:

They Say I am beautiful! I wish I could see myself
They Say I am beautiful! I wish I could see myself

In Pakistan alone there are 18.7 million blind and visually impaired people out of which 2.6 million are children who can be easily cured by simple procedures including cataract which is the major cause of blindness and can be treated for as low as $ 81 for a child at LRBT probably less than you would spend on a dinner/iftar at a restaurant.

www.facebook.com/lrbt.pakistan


The reality for most blind and visually impaired people in Pakistan is that they have little or no hope of accessing treatment or information on what preventable measures they should take mostly due to unaffordability and inaccessibility to quality eye care. They are often subjected to a life of begging on the streets or need permanent support of their already over stretched families.


There is a strong linkage between blindness/impaired vision and poverty. A blind person is dependent on his family for his/her needs. So not only is there a reduction in the family income as a result of their disability but a family member is also diverted from productive work to act as a caregiver. A study by Sightsavers International has estimated that the annual loss of productivity caused by the 1.8 million people who are blind in Pakistan and are therefore not gainfully employed is Rs 69 billion which is 0.8 % of the GDP.

With Love


In this array of darkness THE LAYTON RAHMATULLA BENEVOLENT TRUST (LRBT) has emerged as the only ray of hope for the poor blind. LRBT is the largest provider of Free Eye-care in Pakistan devoted to the prevention of curable blindness and impaired vision in people who live around the poverty line. It was established 30 years ago by 2 retiring businessmen Graham Layton & Zaka Rahmatulla who out of their love for humanity wanted to give back to the community upon their retirement.

During our 30 years of existence over 30 million patients visited our OPDs and over 3 million surgeries were carried out. We are, according to an independent estimate the largest provider of Eye care in the country treating 36 % of all eye patients visiting OPD of hospitals, performing 27 % of all eye surgeries & 32 % of all Paediatric cataract surgeries.


All treatment as well as surgery at LRBT is totally free so that no man, woman or child should go blind simply because they cannot afford the treatment. LRBT has touched & improved the lives of more people than any other NGO in Pakistan. Help us Help More!

Links:

 

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Organization Information

The Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust

Location: Karachi, Sindh - Pakistan
Website: http:/​/​www.lrbt.org.pk
Project Leader:
Lrbt Pakistan
Executive Director
Karachi, Sind Pakistan

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