Zohara is a 12 year old daughter of an old farmer Ibrahim of Tando Allahyaar whose wife expired last year leaving behind 6 children: Two married sons and one daughter who live separately and Zohara and her two young brothers living with Ibrahim, one of them is mentally handicapped. Zohara is an unfortunate child: She is not only a victim of poverty and illiteracy but has to handle responsibilities much beyond her tender age. While girl’s her age are either going to school or at play she wakes up early in the morning to take care of her family and house.
Life was already not a bed of roses for her and to top it something dreadful happened. While Zohara was collecting firewood a stick struck her right eye injuring it badly. She was taken to a nearby hakeem who used traditional remedies to relieve her pain but the eye problem continued. The constant pain in her eye, redness and tearing continued nonstop. To cap this her vision began to deteriorate. The entire household routine was disrupted. Zohara’s father was very worried. He could not afford any medical treatment as he was already under debt owing to his wife’s prolonged illness and then death. They lived in a mud house consisting of two rooms with no electricity or gas. He was the only bread earner for the family of 4 as the elder sons could not pitch in as they had their own families to support. With his limited income he was barely able to provide two meals a day to his children.
Ibrahim felt devastated and the feeling of helplessness was eating him from the inside. He already felt guilty at burdening Zohara, his princess, with such huge responsibilities and now this. Ibrahim had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. All his requests for a loan were declined. As a last resort he went to the same landlord who had given him a loan for his wife. He respected Ibrahim for his hard work and simplicity but would not offer further financial help. When he inquired about why he needed the loan Ibrahim shared Zohara’s ailment. The landlord told him to go to LRBT’s Rashidabad hospital and also shared the best news that he had heard in years that LRBT provides free eye care for the poor. Ibrahim breathed a huge sigh of relief and felt as if a great weight has been lifted off his shoulders. He thanked his master and came home.
Early next morning he left his other children with his elder daughter and took Zohara to LRBT Rashidabad. Throughout his journey he kept praying that this was not a mirage, that LRBT would not turn out to be an NGO which while advertising free treatment actually charged money from poor. He only had Rs.600 in his pocket and was relying on God to take care of the rest. When they reached LRBT Rashidabad, Ibrahim had his set of concerns and Zohara, being only a child had hers. She was scared of the hospital and doctors and what would happen. After a complete eye examination the doctors diagnosed traumatic cataract and gave her an immediate date of surgery. When Ibrahim was assured that everything will be done for free he started crying out of happiness and hugged Zohara reciting verses of thankfulness to God and LRBT.
Zohara’s surgery was successful, her eye sight is now normal. For Ibrahim and Zohra it was like Eid. They were touched by the care and affection shown by the hospital staff. Ibrahim kept thanking each staff member that passed by with folded hands and saying that her future is again bright only because of LRBT.
I didn’t know I was so strong until I was tested again and again. My aim in life now is to raise my brothers the way my mother wanted. I will help my father in every way to make my youngest brother independent and educated so he has a better life than what we are living. If there were more institutes like LRBT then poor people like me won’t have to suffer and go through the hardships like we did looking for free medical help. Thank you LRBT for helping me to be productive again and saving me from a life of darkness and dependency. I will now be able to help my old father and young brothers who need me the most and it’s all because of LRBT-Zohra