Curing blindness at the Buddha Maya Temple: a story from the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation

Dr Sanduk Ruit with Tej Kohli & Ruit Patients outside the Buddha Maya Temple.

When Murathi Parsi of the Kapilavastu District of Nepal went blind, surgery was out of reach. Despite living only one hour away from an eye hospital, the family simply did not have the USD $70 needed for her surgery. Her husband and her son, both daily wage earners, had to make do with odd jobs in construction. With almost seven mouths to feed along with some household debt, saving up the amount needed for Murathi’s operation seemed like an insurmountable task.

Lucky for Murathi, one day when her husband was visiting her daughter’s home in Butwal, they heard of an upcoming Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation eye-camp in Lumbini. He noted the date down — 27th March, 2021.

Murathi at home with her family.

When the day come, he put his wife on his bicycle, and duly made the one-and-a-half hour ride to the Royal Thai Monastery — where patients were being screened. At the screening camp, eye health assistants working with the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation identified her double cataracts, and told Murathi to come for her free surgery on the 30th of March. After receiving a paper which confirmed her scheduled operation for the 30th, Murathi Parsi’s husband put her on his cycle again, and took her back home.

The next day, a team from the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation visited Murathi’s home — a small home with three rooms and plenty of neighbourhood children to greet the team. Murathi says of her experience:

“Its onset was triggered when I was working in the fields almost 3 years ago. I remember experiencing headache when all of a sudden I fell down in the field. In the days that passed, I remember losing my sight rapidly”, she tells us.

At her lowest point, all she could make out were hazy figures moving around her. Murathi was dependent upon her husband, her daughter-in-law, and her grandchildren for food, water and other things.

Murathi received free cataract surgery from the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation which cured her of blindness.

“In the mornings, my granddaughters help me get ready. Sometimes, they get late for school”. The grandchildren also have several other household chores — and taking care of Parsi is additional work.

In a heartbreaking insight, she says that some days when she was eating, the local dogs would come and take food from her plate. Her husband adds: “I am a daily wage earner. Some days, when I have to sit home to take care of her, I have to forfeit a paid job. It becomes very difficult”.

On the day of the surgery, Murathi Parsi and her husband arrive on time. With a sense of occasion, she is draped in a beautiful saree. “My granddaughters chose this for me”, she tells us.

Her ever supportive husband is still beside her, and assists her all the way up till health assistants take her to be anesthetized.

Murathi’s husband assists her at the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation microsurgical outreach camp.

Just 15 minutes inside the operating theatre, the world-renowned eye surgeon Dr. Ruit has removed both of her cataracts and she is being bandaged.

Murathi is operated on at the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation outreach camp.

The next morning, patients are taken to the iconic Buddha Maya Temple — the exact birthplace of Lord Buddha. Murathi Parsi is stunned in the beginning — she hadn’t imagined that she would be able to see this clearly so fast. She thanks Dr. Ruit and meets her husband. Both turn towards Maya Devi Temple to offer their prayers and thank their blessings.

Murathi thanks Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation co-founder Dr Sanduk Ruit for restoring her sight.

For more pictures of the lives that are being transformed thanks to surgical interventions to cure blindness, please follow the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation on Instagram at : https://www.instagram.com/tejkohliruit/

The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation is working to screen 1,000,000 and to cure 300,000 people of cataract blindness in the world’s poorest communities by 2026.