New Documentary Short Shows Why Early Intervention On Childhood Blindness Is Key To Preventing Extreme Poverty
The family of six, including children aged between 12 years and 18 months, lives in a remote village. Three of the children have cataract blindness. Their parents were so burdened by round-the-clock care that they were unable to tend to their land to grow enough food. All four children were extremely malnourished. With an annual income of just $300 per year, the family had no means of paying the $2,500 cost of curing the children’s blindness.
In an example of how the needless blindness of a family member can often deprive other family members of the opportunity to escape extreme poverty, at just 12-years-old the eldest brother, who is not blind, is burdened with responsibilities which prevent his education.
In August 2022 the family was located by an outreach team working for the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation and transported to Kathmandu for emergency treatment funded by the NGO. Within days all three children were operated upon and had their vision restored. Any delay would have meant permanent blindness for all three children. Today the family is living a more normal life and prospering toward escaping the cycle of extreme poverty.
“Children in the developing world suffer from untreated blindness in so many ways. To be a blind child means having limited life prospects. Caring for a blind family member often means sighted children becoming carers instead of getting an education. The greatest impact that we can have is when our curing someone of blindness enables a child to get educated and to improve their future prospects.”