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, a student of grade 1 and 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’s father is a mechanic, who lives in a rented house and supports a family of 9. The only son, Ali has four sisters and his grandparents – whose old age made them dependent on the meager income of his father. Living in a small house, they all share a small space. The sole room of the house is both, 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 to 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.
‘What I missed most was school. Not being able to do what normal children do – study, play with friends, watch T.v.. I became irritable and made my parents’ lives miserable by crying all the time’, Ali reflects sadly.
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.