In the picturesque villages of Nepal, there exists a unique group of individuals known as the "village chowkidaar." These unsung heroes of rural communities play a pivotal role in disseminating vital information that would otherwise remain unheard in the remote corners of the country. Among these selfless souls, one remarkable figure stands out - 52-year-old Anita Devi, a beacon of hope and service to her village.
Anita Devi's life is a testament to the unwavering spirit of compassion and dedication that characterises a chowkidaar. With a heart brimming with kindness and a sense of responsibility towards her community, Anita embarked on a mission to ensure that no one in her village missed out on the opportunity for a life-changing event: a free eye screening camp.
However, in her relentless pursuit of spreading awareness and ensuring the well-being of her fellow villagers, Anita inadvertently neglected her own health, particularly her vision. While tirelessly traversing every nook and cranny of her village, delivering the news of the impending eye screening camp, she was, unbeknownst to her, grappling with severe visual impairment.
On the 7th of August, 2023, Anita's unwavering commitment to her role as a village chowkidaar led her to be one of the last individuals to arrive at the Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation screening camp. The reason for the delay was a simple yet profound one - she had to make one more round of announcements that day. Despite her late arrival, Anita wasted no time and promptly registered for the camp.
It was during this crucial screening that Anita's own vision was unveiled, or rather, the lack thereof. She was diagnosed with cataract blindness, a condition that had silently afflicted her while she dedicated herself to the welfare of her community.
In a heart-wrenching revelation, Anita Devi shared her personal struggles with a Tej Kohli & Ruit Foundation team member. She disclosed that her children had all moved away from home, leaving her alone with her husband, who suffered from a debilitating form of paralysis. Anita had tirelessly cared for him, depleting their savings in pursuit of his recovery. They even resorted to seeking help from their fellow villagers, but her husband's condition remained unaltered.
As Anita's vision deteriorated day by day, a gnawing concern crept into her thoughts - who would take care of them? With her own eyesight in jeopardy, her ability to provide for her husband's needs became increasingly uncertain.
As the sun set on that eventful day, Anita Devi patiently awaited her new beginning. She knew that on the following day, she would undergo her first eye surgery, a pivotal step towards regaining her sight. Like many of the other patients at the camp, Anita was suffering from bilateral cataract blindness, which meant that both her eyes required surgical intervention. However, due to the constraints of the medical schedule, she would have to wait for a month before her second eye could be operated on.
In that month of anticipation and hope, Anita envisioned a future where she would once again have the gift of sight. With both eyes cured, she could resume her role as the caretaker of her home and her husband. The darkness that had shrouded her world for so long would soon be lifted, allowing her to not only live but thrive with her restored vision.
Anita Devi's story is a poignant reminder of the selflessness and sacrifice that often go unnoticed in the remote villages of Nepal. Her journey from being the village chowkidaar to a recipient of life-altering medical care is a testament to the transformative power of compassion and the resilience of the human spirit. As she awaits her second surgery, she looks toward a future filled with renewed hope, where she can once again serve her community with the clarity of sight and the warmth of a caring heart.
Find out more about Tej Kohli: Tej Kohli the technologist investing in human triumph, Tej Kohli the philanthropist trying to cure the developing world of cataracts and Tej Kohli the London tycoon with a generous streak.