Haradhan is a 50-year-old man living in Nadabhanga, a small village of Sunderbans, a relatively more prosperous part of the region. An independent man able to provide well for his wife and twin daughters through his work as a mason, Haradhan enjoyed tending his kitchen garden and feeding his pet parrot in his free time.
Life was good for Haradhan until he lost his job, when difficulty with sight in his right eye led to deteriorating quality in his masonry. He tried other work, but, as it was seasonal, he was not able to sustain a regular income. Left with no other option, Haradhan’s wife started working to sustain the family. But in spite of all her efforts, her earnings were not enough, and the family often went without food. In order to support the continuing education of their twin daughters, the parents began borrowing money, adding to their debt month by month.
Haradhan never thought of consulting a doctor about his vision, and would have been reluctant to add to his mounting debt. But that all changed when a Community Health Worker (CHW) came around the village one day sharing information about an eye camp to be held in the neighbourhood, with the support of Sightsavers and its partner agency Sunderbans Social Development Centre (SSDC).
How we made a difference
After a preliminary examination at the eye camp, Haradhan was diagnosed with a cataract and advised that he needed immediate surgery. The CHW visited Haradhan’s house to explain the process to the family, assuring them that the surgery was simple and not to be feared. The family was relieved when she told them that Haradhan’s surgery would be performed free of charge.
Upon arrival at the SSDC hospital, Haradhan underwent a complete medical check-up to ensure that he was fit for the procedure and was discharged with after-care instructions the day after the surgery was performed.
Today, Haradhan is a confident man. He has been able to return to his job as a mason and is back to being a productive contributor to his family. He has also become an advocate for the work of CHWs, spreading awareness about the project and helping to clarify misconceptions around eye health within his neighbourhood.
“I have got back my life; I am going to start my new life”.