How you give a brighter future to children like Shahed

Shahed had a tough start in life. He was one of the thousands of Rohingya babies forced to leave their homes in Myanmar and seek refuge in Bangladesh. Like so many others, Shahed’s family found themselves trying to rebuild their lives in a refugee camp.

Very few of us in the UK can imagine the strain and worry this must create for a family. Added to this, Shahed’s parents soon noticed that their precious son wasn’t responding to them as a baby should. As he grew, Shahed struggled to walk properly.

His parents told us of the pain they felt, recognising that there was a problem with his sight but not knowing what they could do to help him.

Cox’s Bazar, where Shahed and his family now live, is an area made up of mostly low-income rural communities, including many Rohingya refugees. For years their healthcare was neglected, creating a very high need for good quality eye care services.

Thanks to an Orbis-funded project, Shahed was eventually diagnosed with cataracts and successfully received surgery on both eyes.

And what a difference! Blind from birth, this little boy has been given the gift of sight. Now he loves to play sport and dance with his neighbours. It’s wonderful to see, knowing the difficult start in life that Shahed had.

Sadly, complications did arise when Bangladesh went into lockdown due to coronavirus. Shahed’s follow up treatment was delayed, and he developed infectious conjunctivitis in his left eye. Thankfully, he has since received treatment to clear this up and is now just waiting for a second surgery to correct the squint that you may notice in these pictures.

His father, Elias, described the joy he felt at witnessing his son see for the first time:

Elias, Shahed's father

I am grate­ful to all who have restored my son’s vision.

Thank you for giving the gift of sight to children like Shahed!

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