A passion for the people

Written by Admin, published on September 26, 2017 Donate Today

Sushila lives with her husband and two children in Dhaki village, in India. She first became interested in our Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Program back in 2014, when she met a community health worker named Sonam who’d been trained by Operation Eyesight.

When Sushila saw the life-changing work Sonam was doing, she was fascinated and immediately knew that she wanted to get involved. But sadly, at the time there were no vacancies for more health workers, and Sushila was turned away. Feeling defeated, she returned home.

Some time passed. One day, Sonam visited Sushila to tell her that she was leaving her position for personal reasons. She told Sushila there would be a job opening.

Sushila didn’t even think twice; she was ecstatic about the opportunity!

Unfortunately, her family wasn’t. Her husband was particularly bothered by the idea of his wife going door-to-door in the community. But Sushila was relentless, and in the end her passion for the job won out over even the cynicism of her husband. Sushila became a community health worker!

Sushila (right), guiding a patient to a shuttle that will transport him to a partner hospital for eyesight-saving treatment.

Her determination served her well, as she quickly became considered one of the most successful community health workers in her village. In just three months, she conducted door-to-door surveys of all households in 10 remote communities, and she found 89 patients who needed treatment. After a series of eye health education workshops and counselling, Sushila convinced most of the patients to receive treatment that would restore or save their eyesight.

However, there were still 14 blind villagers who refused all treatment. Not to be deterred, Sushila tirelessly visited them every day, taking successfully-treated patients of the village to speak to those who were still resistant, and to counsel them in the ways in which treatment could restore and improve their quality of life.

Sushila receiving public acknowledgement for her hard work as a community health worker.

It took Sushila six months’ of hard work to finally convince the other 14 patients. She had to involve religious leaders and neighbours in her community to spread the word about the ways in which treatment had changed people’s lives for the better. Finally, thanks to the incredible generosity of supporters like you, they received treatment free of charge to them and their families!

Not only that, but after working with Operation Eyesight for the last few years, Sushila’s community has officially been declared “Avoidable Blindness-Free”!

Sushila’s village has been declared “Avoidable Blindness-Free,” thanks to the efforts of our hard-working team.

What started as an enthusiastic dream has turned into an incredible career. Now Sushila is a celebrated local household name, known for her unrelenting dedication to helping her community.

Sushila is one of many women who is working night and day to help her community. Thanks to the support of people like you, she received training to screen patients for eye health issues and she has also been trained to counsel her patients when they refuse to accept treatment. We need more incredible women like Sushila to help us in the fight to end avoidable blindness. And you can make this possible by donating to our Screening and Outreach program today!