“I felt like a fairy came and made my wish come true.”
This is the story of Ms. Diya*, a 10-year-old girl from an economically backward family in Nashik. Both her parents eked out a living as farm labourers. She had a squint in her right eye with no family history of the same. She had all the ingredients required to be sad. However, Diya* was very happy. She was a spunky little dynamo, bubbling over with energy and curiosity. As a child, people sometimes called her “kaani” which she thought was a cute nickname.
Her outlook to life, however, took a turn as she got older. She had realised what ‘kaani’ meant – someone with a squint. At the young age of 10, her self-confidence was replaced with shame and embarrassment. She stopped interacting with her friends and gave up playing in school or elsewhere. Her parents tried motivating her to make friends but she couldn’t. They were worried thinking she might stop going to school altogether and that she might not get married. They felt that her squint could be treated and took Diya* to a private hospital. The doctors there confirmed that her condition could be rectified with surgery. But, the cost of the procedure was completely beyond their means.
But, Diya* had buried within her a smile that the world cannot be deprived of. As fate would have it, a school screening camp was organised in her school by Tulsi Eye Hospital (TEH), Nashik, in March 2019. At the camp, her condition was diagnosed and she was referred to the hospital for surgery. When her parents got to know that the surgery would be free, they were ecstatic. On 18th March, she visited the paediatric OPD, and after undergoing counselling with her parents she was operated for squint (OS Duane’s retraction syndrome Type 1), on 20th March. After the surgery, Diya* was all smiles. Her parents were very happy and thankful to TEH for the visible change in their daughter both physically and mentally. When Diya* was asked how she felt, she said, “I feel like a fairy came and made my wish come true.” Her parents expressed their sincere appreciation to Cognizant Foundation and Mission for Vision for restoring their child’s vision; a gift they would not have been able to give Diya* otherwise without emptying their pockets.
* name changed to protect privacy