Ninety year old Amena lives with her daughter Suqurjanbegum and three of her seven grandchildren in a small hut on the outskirts of Dhaka. To get money for food, she breaks up large pieces of stone and sells them to construction workers. It’s tough work for a woman of her age, but it’s her only source of income.
When Amena first started suffering from cataracts, she thought it was nothing more than an inconvenience. But her condition soon took a turn for the worse, and for two or three months she was completely blind. She could barely make out her hand in front of her face. The biggest blow came when she couldn’t identify any of her seven grandchildren and had to listen to their voices to tell them apart. Her loss of sight also meant that she couldn’t work, move around independently or cook any meals – she had to depend on her family for almost everything. “When I was eating, I couldn’t even tell what was on my plate until I had tasted it. I was thankful that my family helped me, but I wanted to do things for myself,” shared Amena.
How we made a difference
Having heard from her neighbour that there would be eye doctors examining patients at a nearby youth centre, Amena decided to seek help for her vision problems. It was a decision that changed her life. She had her first eye operation, which was a great success.
Thanks to the outreach efforts by a Sightsavers-supported Vision Centre programme and Bashundhara Ad-din Hospital, Amena can now see her family again. She has also since returned to work.
“I am so happy with the service I received. I have no money, so I was very happy that I didn’t have to pay anything. When my work has finished, I will go and have the left eye operated on.”