Shadows of Sacrifice: Dukhlal Tharu’s Journey from Darkness to Hope

Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation
4 min readSep 11, 2023


Dukhlal Tharu, a resilient 44-year-old resident of Banke District in Nepal has been battling cataract blindness, a condition that has cast a dark cloud over his life. Dukhlal’s journey is a powerful reminder of the hardships faced by individuals in remote areas, where access to healthcare is limited.

Now, fast forward to June 2023, a pivotal moment in Dukhlal’s life. Our dedicated teams joined forces with the Fatehbal Eye Hospital to organise a life-changing screening camp in Dukhlal’s village. This event held the promise of a new beginning for Dukhlal, whose vision had been steadily slipping away. At the camp, his eyes were examined, revealing a harsh reality — he was suffering from cataracts and needed urgent surgery.

But here’s where the story takes a heartbreaking turn. Dukhlal, like countless others in his position, lacked the financial means to undergo the critical surgery that could restore his sight. He bravely shared his financial struggles with our medical team. However, relief washed over him when he learned that his treatment would be provided entirely free of charge.

Plans were put in motion for Dukhlal to join a group of patients from his village scheduled for surgery. However, on the day of the surgery, he was conspicuously absent. Worried for his well-being, our team visited his home to uncover the reason behind his absence.

There, Dukhlal revealed a heart-wrenching dilemma. His reluctance to undergo surgery was rooted in his immense responsibilities. He wasn’t just the pillar of support for his family of four; he was also the provider during the monsoon season when he toiled tirelessly in the fields. The income he earned during this critical period was what put food on their table. The thought of needing to rest for a few weeks after surgery was a luxury he couldn’t afford.

His mother and wife echoed his sentiments, voicing their concerns about the family’s survival. It was a desperate situation, where the immediate need for sustenance clashed with the long-term prospect of regaining sight.

Enter Mr. Umer Sadiq from the Fatehbal Eye Hospital, a compassionate soul who tried valiantly to counsel Dukhlal and his family. He understood their predicament but also grasped the significance of Dukhlal’s vision. However, despite his best efforts, they remained resolute in their decision.

Dukhlal’s mother posed a haunting question, one that encapsulates the stark choices faced by those living on the margins: “What will we eat for the whole year?”

Recognising that Dukhlal was caught in an agonising predicament, the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation proposed a solution. They encouraged him to complete his work in the fields first, likely in September after the fields had been sown. It was a compromise that would solve both issues.

Dukhlal Tharu’s story is not an isolated one; it symbolises the struggles of countless individuals in similar circumstances. His journey serves as a poignant call to action, urging us to raise awareness about the formidable challenges faced by people like Dukhlal, and to strive for solutions that bridge the daunting gap between their pressing daily needs and access to essential healthcare.

In our increasingly interconnected world, it’s vital that we stand together to make a difference. We must ensure that no one has to make such heart-wrenching choices between immediate survival and the hope of a brighter, healthier future. Dukhlal’s story reminds us of the enduring human spirit, resilience in the face of adversity, and the power of compassion and collaboration.

By championing causes that bring light into the lives of those living in the shadows of darkness, we can collectively create a world where everyone has the opportunity to see a brighter tomorrow. Let Dukhlal’s journey be a reminder that together, we can be the catalysts for change, illuminating the lives of those who need it most.



Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation

The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation is advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goal to end poverty everywhere by making grassroots interventions to cure blindness.