The Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation has released a new documentary short charting a remarkable intervention to cure three children of cataract blindness in a single family. The film illustrates how untreated blindness in the developing world can create a burden of care which prevents entire families from escaping extreme poverty; and shows how early treatment interventions are key to being able to cure children of blindness.
The documentary is available to view on the YouTube channel of the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-YlW3HkG-w
Childhood cataracts affect approximately 200,000 children worldwide, with the vast majority living in the developing world. Without early intervention, childhood blindness can become permanent. The 17-minute Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation documentary short focuses on a family living in the Jajakot region of Nepal, where over 50% of the population lives below the extreme poverty line.
The family of six, including children aged between 12 years and 18 months, lives in a remote village. Three of the children have cataract blindness. Their parents were so burdened by round-the-clock care that they were unable to tend to their land to grow enough food. All four children were extremely malnourished. With an annual income of just $300 per year, the family had no means of paying the $2,500 cost of curing the children’s blindness.
In an example of how the needless blindness of a family member can often deprive other family members of the opportunity to escape extreme poverty, at just 12-years-old the eldest brother, who is not blind, is burdened with responsibilities which prevent his education.
In August 2022 the family was located by an outreach team working for the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation and transported to Kathmandu for emergency treatment funded by the NGO. Within days all three children were operated upon and had their vision restored. Any delay would have meant permanent blindness for all three children. Today the family is living a more normal life and prospering toward escaping the cycle of extreme poverty.
The Tej Kohli and Ruit Foundation targets the #1 UN Sustainable Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty by making large-scale grassroot interventions to cure cataract blindness in some of the most remote and impoverished communities in the developing world. By 2030 the NGO hopes to cure between 300,000 and 500,000 of blindness and has ringfenced funds specifically to tackle the problem of cataract blindness in children.
Co-founder of the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation Tej Kohli said of the intervention:
“Children in the developing world suffer from untreated blindness in so many ways. To be a blind child means having limited life prospects. Caring for a blind family member often means sighted children becoming carers instead of getting an education. The greatest impact that we can have is when our curing someone of blindness enables a child to get educated and to improve their future prospects.”