Bangladesh: Habib’s story

Habib Habib is a 13-year-old boy who lives in a village called Khalishapur in northern Bangladesh. He is one of five children in a very poor family. Although Habib’s parents own their simple house, they have no land for cultivating rice or other crops. Habib and his father and brothers must find whatever work they can as day labourers.

In recent years, Habib realized that he could no longer see clearly. He told his parents that he couldn’t see but they thought they were too poor to access any treatment.

However, one day the Symbiosis Primary Eye Care Project (SPECS) held a preschool vision screening in Habib’s neighbourhood. Habib was curious and went along to see what was happening. When he saw that the SPECS staff were checking the students’ eyes, he asked whether they could test his eyes also.

The SPECS staff agreed to examine Habib’s eyes and found that he had a cataract in his right eye. They advised him that he needed to have an operation to restore his sight. Although glad that his vision problem could be cured, Habib and his family were very concerned that with their meagre resources, they would not be able to afford the surgery.

Through their good relationship with a district eye hospital, the staff of SPECS were able to arrange subsided surgery for Habib, as well as transport to and from the hospital. Habib’s surgery was successful and then he received glasses to give him the best possible vision. Now that he can see well, Habib is working to earn an income and is able help his family. He and his family are very thankful to SPECS and to Optometry Giving Sight donors for helping to fund the project.