Little Boy, Big Dreams.

Stories | July 21, 2020

Many young children have big dreams about what they want to be when they grow up, like becoming a footballer, a firefighter or a doctor.

For five-year old Sudip, who lives with his parents and four siblings in a remote village about 600km east of Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, his big dream was to be a police officer.

Sadly, when Sudip was three, these hopes and dreams as well as his everyday quality of life were suddenly impacted by vision problems that developed without any warning.

“He would walk and play around the house all the time, then one day Sudip told me that he couldn’t see things properly during sunlight. He would squint and try to see from the corner of his eyes. I didn’t know what to do,” says his mother Nirmala.

A visit to a traditional healer in another village failed to help, and sadly, Sudip’s eyesight kept deteriorating.

When his siblings would run around the house and play outside, Sudip would sit quietly in the corner. He found it more and more difficult to recognise loved ones.

Realising this was a serious issue, Sudip’s parents thought of taking him to the nearest hospital for assessment, but they believed eye treatment was expensive and they decided to save money to help their son.

Things continued to get harder for Sudip when he was enrolled in the same school as his siblings a few months later. He walked an hour each way to get to school, holding his sister’s hand the whole way.

Sudip’s father Sher Bahadur later met one of Sudip’s teacher, who painted a picture of his struggles in the classroom.

“He told me the boy couldn’t read the letters on the blackboard. He just sat in the classroom without learning much. The teacher warned me Sudip should get treatment soon [and], if untreated, his condition could get worse,” he says.

“That really hurt me. I felt so helpless.”

Sudip’s vision problems also led to him being teased in the playground, which led to him feeling further excluded and isolated, both at school and at home.

The arrival of monsoon season in Nepal brought about heavy rain and thunderstorms daily, and a high risk of landslides in the region.

Fearful Sudip could not get safely to or from school, his parents decided not to send him to school for two months.

He would cry as his older siblings left for school in the morning, and spend his days sitting with his mother as she cleaned the hut and cared for his two-year old sister Pramila.

“Mama, I want to go to school, I don’t like sitting in the house. Please treat my eyes soon,” he said.

Nirmala knew that urgent intervention was needed for his son to life the type of life he deserved.

“I pray to God every day to treat my son’s eyes. I hope he gets treatment soon. I hope he can go to school like other children.”


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