Bokul Banu lives with her family in a small village called Chadpasha in Barishal district, West Bangladesh.
Bokul worked as a cook but when she developed cataracts at just 40, she lost her sight, income and independence.
“In the beginning, I started seeing everything fade and gradually it deteriorated” – Bokul
Bokul faced many challenges in her daily life. Her daughter-in-law and 12-year old son helped her with everyday tasks like washing and dressing. But even using the toilet was difficult for Bokul, especially at night.
Not wanting to be a burden on her family, Bokul would attempt to manage tasks without help and this often resulted in her falling, bumping in to trees, fences, corners, and doors.
Her older son lost his job in a shoe factory because of redundancies in the pandemic, and the whole family became dependent on the £1 a day that Bokul’s husband earned hawking pickled fruit. It wasn’t enough for them all to eat.
Bokul felt so helpless that she couldn’t contribute.
Cataracts are common in younger people in poor countries but can be removed by straightforward surgery. Bokul’s nearest hospital is several hours journey over bad roads and the cost of the operation is many times the monthly family income.
Bokul thought she would never see again until IMPACT’s floating hospital moored at a riverbank near her village. Bangladesh has more than 700 rivers so a fully-equipped hospital on a boat is the perfect way to reach remote rural communities.
IMPACT’s floating hospital has helped a million people like Bokul in the past 21 years by providing surgery to restore sight, hearing or mobility. Most operations are done by Bangladeshi surgeons.
Bokul told our medical team: “I’m so relieved I can see again – and I’m no longer a burden on my family”.