As a child, we have often been faced with the question that also jokingly, ‘who do you love most – mother or father?’ But imagine the predicament or the helplessness as an adult you would feel if you had to choose whom to cure between your father’s or mother’s blindness. That is what Dilli Prasad Simkhada of Nepal faced.
Dilemma of Dilli
Both his parents had cataracts, and their eyesight started deteriorating, leaving them almost blind. Being a daily wage labourer with minimum earnings, Dilli chose to save his mother’s eyesight since it was worsening rapidly. But it was not easy; he did not have enough money to help his mother. Dilli loaned money from a local money lender at a high-interest rate and took his mother to the nearest eye hospital in Surkhet. She was diagnosed with matured cataract, which needed an immediate operation, which was done at the Surkhet Eye Hospital.
Answer To Dilli’s Problem
Though the operation was free at the Surkhet Eye Hospital, the transport, lodging, and food cost Dilli $230, which is quite expensive for him. Already drowning in debt and the expenses borne by him, Dilli was unable to take his mother for a post-operation check-up and could not treat his father.
But luckily for Dilli and his father, Amarnath Simkhada, there was an eye camp organized by Tej Kohli &Ruit Foundation in the remote Kalikot district, Nepal. Dilli took his father to the eye camp, where Amarnath was one of the 152 people who were cured of needless blindness after a successful cataract operation.
At the eye surgery camp, Dilli also took his mother and got her checked for free, where the doctor reported her surgery was successful. Now Dilli’s both parents can see clearly and work too.
Tej Kohli &Ruit Foundation – More Than Just Comabting Needless Blindness
Philanthropist Tej Kohli and ophthalmology surgeon Dr SandukRuit founded this NGO to end the cycle of poverty caused by cataract blindness in the underserved regions of developing nations. It has been estimated that the people of these regions face 90 per cent of cataract blindness, and without the help of people like Tej Kohli and Dr Ruit, the condition will worsen.
The story of Dilli is not exceptional in the landscape of blindness caused by cataracts and congenital eye diseases. There are instances where a husband has left his wife because of cataract blindness; people have wanted to take their own lives because they have gone blind. Mr Kohli believes that to defeat extreme poverty in developing nations, large-scale intervention in curing the untreated blindness caused by cataracts is of utmost importance. This impetus has led to not only the founding of the Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation but other technological ventures by Mr Kohli, including the TejKholi Cornea Institute, Tej Kohli Cornea Program and many more.
TejKholi&Ruit Foundation’s Aim and Work
Under Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation, the target is to cure 500,000 people of cataract blindness while screening 1,000,000 by 2030. So far, they have cured 25,201 people after screening 179,022 and have served in countries like Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Ghana. So far, they have conducted 91 outreach camps across these countries.