Sightsavers stories

Inji Bai & Kallu's story

In Sickness & In Health

Inji Bai and Kallu (names changed) have been married for more than 60 years and are now in their seventies. They recalled how, soon after getting married, the world altered when they were residing in their “Kutcha” house (a structure built of mud and straw). They belong to the Rajasthani tribal clan known for creating iron implements and vessels, the Gadia Lohar community. The demand for the iron commodities produced by these communities has now declined due to the shifting and expanding of global market, which is now dominated by huge multinational businesses. However, they do have regular customers in and around the town where they live, which allows them to put food on their plates. In every aspect, the pair takes care of one another. Inji and Kallu are each other’s entire world because none of their children live with them. Their neighbours continue to visit them on occasions.

A few months back, Inju started having blurred vision in her right eye. She also developed sensitivity towards light. Inji decided against telling her husband about her dim vision because she believed he would get worried. She was aware that getting her eyes checked by the doctor would be her best plan of action, but the cost of therapy made her hesitate to focus on her problems. She started to recall Kallu’s slow loss of his left eye’s vision a few years ago, when he was dealing with a similar problem. At the time, they had been really worried and unclear of what to do, but Kallu had been fortunate to find someone who had organised an eye screening camp for cost free. After being told he had cataract, Kallu underwent surgery without having to pay for it out of his pocket, which was a huge relief for him. Inji was experiencing the same problems that Kallu had encountered.

Inji once messed up the cooking process by burning chapatis and spilling water all over the kitchen. She stumbled a few times while attempting to clean up the mess. When he ran to save her, Kallu fell because he was unable to determine how deep the path was. Both of them noticed they were having vision problems, and Kallu was positive it was cataract because he had just recently received surgery in his left eye. Soon, when Kallu and Inji were trying to find out about eye check up in hospitals, they heard a camp announcement (an initiative by Sightsavers) while they were leaving their home. One week following this day, they mentally prepared themselves to go to the eye screening camp, happy for their good fortune.

The couple visited the eye screening camp which is an initiative by Sightsavers under the Rural Eye Health Programme. During the screening, both were diagnosed with cataract. They were told to go to Gomabai Netralaya, where its staff members took care of them. It was a very happy moment for them when their bandages were taken off and they could clearly see one another. Their surgeries had been successful. Inji asserted that she now had the impression of being able to see every minute detail of things. They had their initial follow-up exam, which went without a hitch.

For Sightsavers staff, it was inspiring to see the couple cohabiting for years on end and truly living up to the saying “in sickness and in health.”

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Sightsavers and eye health