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March 27 2017

34th Millionth Patient

Mohammad Ali, at the age of 9 lived a happy life, playing cricket in the street and attending a local school. His father, Siraj had a respectable job as an administrator in an office and managed to take care of his family of 6. Then, disaster struck: Siraj had been suffering from an eye ailment for some time that led to a loss of vision. With decreased vision he was deemed unfit for his job and given early retirement. It was a shock for the young family.

Siraj found a new job with a private company but the undiagnosed eye condition proved to be hazardous in his job and he was asked to leave. Humiliated and depressed, Siraj locked himself at home, refusing to meet anyone or go anywhere. That was 5 years ago.

The family now depended solely on Siraj’s meager pension. They ate just one meal a day. Ali, being the eldest had to drop out of school but his mother rose to the challenge and started cooking for family and friends. The business grew slowly and Ali decided to help by selling homemade samosas at a kiosk. Just when things seemed to be picking up Ali realized his own eyes were failing too. Ali anxiuosly asked the people around him for advice and that’s how he found out about LRBT's free eye hospital in Korangi.

One of his customers, now a friend, had taken his mother and grandmother there a year ago and was full of admiration for the treatment they had received, free of charge. Ali went with his mother to the hospital the very next day and was diagnosed with cataract. He underwent a successful operation a few days later and can now see perfectly again.

Working with greater zeal and enthusiasm, Ali has started selling biryani alongside the samosas at his small kiosk and is grateful to Allah for letting him return to work and look after the family again. ‘It is unbelievable!’ he said. ‘My father suffered for five years and I have been able to get free treatment in a few weeks! My father will go to LRBT now too and once he is well, together we will be able to work and send my brothers and sister to school.’

Ali’s father, Siraj, was also treated at LRBT Korangi, a few weeks after Ali, and is looking for work again.

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