Seva Story: West Bengal, India

Exponential Return
One Patient Helps Restore Sight to 18 More!

man who brought his village_03 - jraffanti.jpgSeva first met Abdul Mahjid in the rural Himalayan foothills of West Bengal, a part of India nestled between Nepal and Bangladesh.

Abdul had spent his life working diligently as a tailor. He did not make much money, but it was enough to support his family.

Three years ago, Abdul’s eye- sight began to fade.

Abdul told Seva, “I am a tailor. Losing my vision meant I was going to be unable to work.” He went on to explain that his diminishing eyesight caused him trouble with stitching, and threatened his livelihood.

As Abdul’s vision worsened, it became harder and harder for him to thread a needle.

Before long, he had lost his vision completely. Abdul worried deeply as he was no longer able to support his family. Without money for evaluation or treatment, Abdul was left with few options.

Then Abdul learned about an outreach camp organized in his rural area of West Bengal, India. He went and learned that mature cataracts were causing his blindness. He was also told that he could receive sight-restoring surgery free of charge at the Siliguri Greater Lions Eye Hospital — a Seva- supported eye hospital that serves the poorest of the poor in the northern districts of West Bengal.

Abdul traveled to the hospital where he received surgery on his left eye. His clouded lens was removed and a new replacement lens was put in place. The entire procedure took just 15 minutes. When his eye patch was removed the next morning, Abdul joyfully proclaimed, “I can see again! I am able to return to my work as a tailor, and can again provide for my family.”

But this was just the beginning of Abdul’s incredible story.

Inspired by the dramatic improvement the sight-restoring surgery had on his quality of life, Abdul wanted to help others who suffered with debilitating blindness.

He returned home and immediately began to spread the word to friends and neighbors in his village who also had vision problems. Many didn’t know that free sight-saving eye care was available or they had been nervous about traveling to the hospital for treatment.

Abdul took it upon himself to educate anyone he could find.

Amazingly, Abdul gathered 18 people from his community who were losing their vision. He brought the entire group to the Seva- supported hospital where his friends and neighbors received sight-restoring surgeries.

While there, Abdul received surgery on his second eye, fully restoring his vision.

As Abdul stood with his 18 friends who also had their sight restored, Abdul proudly stated “For three long years I was blind, but now I can see.”

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