Janu Bingar Dive, aged 14 years is from a village called Agadgaon. Her two older brothers work as daily wage earners at a farm. Six years ago, she stopped studying (when she was in Class 2), as she was unable to see the writing on the blackboard even from the first bench in class. She had suffered a loss of vision in both her eyes. Her mother brought her to the eye check up camp organized by the Sight for the Sightless Programme. Within a span of two months she was operated upon both eyes. After 6 years – Ms. Janu, will now go back to school! She looks forward to happier days after 6 long years of blindness!
Baban Umaji Ghadhe, 75 years of age, was brought from the village of Kalas, Khedgaon. He stayed alone there groping in the darkness. His son died a few years ago. He cannot exactly explain how and the reason for his son’s death. He takes care of a distant relative’s property. In return, he is given his daily food. He has no regular source of income. For three years, he was unable to see. His financial conditions and lack of any assistance prevented him from seeking a cure for his blindness. He heard about the free eye camp organised by Sight for the Sightless at the village. He attended the camp and was brought to the hospital and operated upon. Surprised and moved by the kindness of this “Free Gift of Sight”, during his stay at the hospital, he would repeatedly join hands and thank all the team members who attended to him.
5 year old Mayuri was blind in both her eyes. She also cannot walk due to a physical disability. Helpless and Dependant!! She and her family members reconciled with her condition of agonizing blindness for 5 years inspite of it being curable… because they did not have the money! Not able to see, not able to walk… she would crawl around a small area in the house. One day, her grandfather heard about the “Sight for the Sightless Camp” to be held at their village (Sandgaon, Shrigonda District). He brought her to the eye check up camp with hope. She was then brought to the Institute for surgery. She was operated on her Right Eye and subsequently after a few weeks on her Left Eye. Today her family and she are overjoyed for her restored vision. This they regard as a beautiful miracle in their lives.
Mr. Ramchandra Dawlat, a 75 year old widower living in the remote village of Khedshinapur, Pune District is a farmer by profession. His wife passed away 12 years ago. Ramchandra had developed cataract in both his eyes. He was entirely dependent on his son for his daily needs and was not able to contribute to the income due to his poor vision. He had visited an eye institute for a vision check up about six months back, where he was charged Rs. 500/- and given a pair of spectacles, which brought no improvement in his vision. He heard about the Sight for the Sightless Programme through the camps being conducted in villages. He attended one such camp and was brought to the Institute, where he was operated upon. He feels relieved to be able to “see” and also happy that he can contribute to the income of the family and thereby live with greater dignity.
Master Kedar Shirsagar, is the only child of a garment cutting master and a librarian from Bhosari. At age 3, Kedar suffered trauma to the right eye in a childhood accident and lost vision in that eye. He was recommended keratoplasty, but this was not possible due to poor financial conditions and consequently the eye was eviscerated (eyeball removed). The left eye was also affected due to a severe allergic reaction that he had suffered at the age of 4 years, and developed opacity of the cornea, and hence he was left virtually blind in both eyes. Imagine the plight of a young boy who would have to keep an object at closer than nose length to be able to see it. Kedar had his face almost touching the TV screen to be able to watch it.
Furthermore, he suffered from a complete lack of confidence to walk as he was rendered nearly blind. Kedar was also at a very high risk of graft rejection if he had to undergo the generally recommended treatment of corneal transplant, and thus was considered suitable for an artificial corneal transplant. He underwent lens extraction, IOL Implantation and the Boston Keratoprosthesis procedure for which the best quality artificial cornea tissue was brought specially from Harvard’s Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary. Kedar is now able to identify cars, view the beautiful colors of advertisement hoardings, watch TV from a distance of ten feet. The smile on his face makes all the extensive efforts and the risk taken seem worthwhile. His family is overjoyed to know that their only child is now able to SEE. His parents are now considering shifting him out of the blind school to a regular school.
Mr. Dyandeo Gopala Songale, from Daund, Pune District, has 2 sons, the elder one of which is physically challenged from an accident and hence is unemployed. The other is a daily wage labourer at construction sites. Mr. Songale worked as a stone cutter at construction sites. He was forced to stop working due to the cataract that had developed in his right eye. His sons are married and also have 2 children each and it is a fight for survival for their own families. In such circumstances, even a normal eye check up was not affordable. He was brought through the Sight for the Sightless Programme and was operated free of charge. He is back to work, relieved at the restoration of his sight and also relieved to earn his daily wages.