Together from Darkness to Light

Written by Sharon Panackal, Communications Specialist, published on February 26, 2019 Donate Today

Rathnamma and Venkitaraman have been each other’s support ever since they migrated to Bangalore, India to work as construction labourers. Despite 40 years of hard work, the couple was only able to accumulate a small amount of savings. And that savings was quickly used after Venkitaram’s sight faded, until he eventually went blind. Without his additional income, the couple struggled every day. Rathnamma had no choice but to become the sole breadwinner for them both.

If that wasn’t already challenging enough, Rathnamma’s vision also started to fade. She feared a dark and difficult future if she lost her sight… If she went blind too, how would she and Venkitaram survive?

As her vision faded more and more, Rathnamma was forced to cut back at work, putting extra financial strain on her household.

Rathnamma knew she needed help. She wanted to go to one of the nearby hospitals to seek treatment, but she kept quiet for two years, worried she wouldn’t be able to afford the cost.  

Rathnamma was on the verge of losing her sight, and her hope for the future was running out.

But one day everything changed! Operation Eyesight-trained community health workers visited the family during a community outreach program. When they reached the couple’s home, they told Rathnamma they were there to screen the family for eye health issues. They immediately recognized that Rathnamma ‘s sight was fading, and they referred her to a vision centre where she was diagnosed with cataracts. From there, she was referred to our partner hospital for cataract surgeries – free of charge!

Soon after, Rathnamma underwent sight-restoring eye surgery. Today she is able to see clearly. Now she’s back at work and earning more to support her little family!

And that’s not all. Although Vankitaraman had incurable blindness, the community health workers taught him mobility skills to get around. They trained him to walk around with a long cane to navigate his surroundings. As a result, Venkitaraman no longer needs to sit idle at home. Today he takes care of the household chores while Rathnamma works outside.

And the health workers didn’t stop there. Knowing the couple was struggling financially, they helped them apply for disability pensions from the government. Now they have an additional income each month that takes the edge off their financial stress!

The couple remembers the community health workers fondly. Thanks to all the help they received, Venkitaraman and Rathnamma were able to escape a terrible fate, and they have hope for a brighter future. 

And it’s all because to people like you! Through the support of donors like you, we are able to bring sustainable changes to the lives of so many across South Asia and Africa. Thanks to you, thousands of families have access to the quality eye care services they need! There are still so many who need your help. Please make a donation and give the gift of hope to more families today.