On The Brink of Poverty | #2030InSight
On a hot and humid day in Kapilavastu, Hari Pokhrel often spends his day sitting outside his hut. After losing his sight, he and his wife are nervous that their resources will quickly run out.
Hari and his family weren’t always poor. Prior to his blindness, he was a hardworking man and brought home a decent income to sustain his family. Seven years ago, when Hari’s wife Mina gave birth to their daughter, they were elated. Hari remembers being determined to provide for her and began setting aside a small amount of money every month — saving for their daughter’s bright future.
But two years ago, Hari slowly started becoming blind. As his vision continued to deteriorate, it became difficult for him to continue working. During the day, he would work in the fields, in the evenings, he used to operate a small food stall at the village market, serving customers instant noodles, dumplings and other snacks. He would bring home a monthly income of about NRS 14,000 which is roughly USD$110.
When Hari became blind in 2021, the family had no option but to use the funds they had saved for their daughter’s future. Slowly, the funds depleted and the family was on the brink of extreme poverty. Soon after this, Hari was referred to the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation.
The Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation team arranged for his transfer to Kale Babu Chhanda (Narayani) Eye Hospital. The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation has been working with the local hospital in the Kapilavastu District of Nepal to reduce the incidence of cataract blindness by providing free cataract surgeries.
With this, the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation aims to lift families and communities out of extreme poverty via grassroots interventions and make a direct contribution to the number one United Nations Sustainable Development Goal which is to reduce extreme poverty everywhere.
Hari’s surgery was performed on 24th July, 2022. The following morning, after Dr Sulakshmi removes his patches, Hari was stunned to be seeing clearly again. He waited a few moments to adjust to his newfound sight and became overwhelmed in the beginning. After shedding a few tears, the moment of joy arrived — he looked at his wife and daughter, and gently hugged and kissed them.
Hari discussed how he was looking forward to working in the fields, reopening his food stall, and bringing home a sustained income which would pave for his daughter’s bright future.