10 year old Sobia came to LRBT’s Tertiary Eye hospital in Korangi, a deprived area of Karachi, in a painful state. A thorn had pierced her eye earlier. Her father Rashid a pickup driver by profession earned Rs. 10,000/ month that was barely enough to put food on the table for his family of 10. He could not afford to take her to a private hospital. That would be a financial catastrophe. So he tried local remedies but when they didn’t work took her to a government hospital, where after waiting for hours Sobia was prescribed some eye drops. But her pain wouldn’t go away. He was at his wits end when one of his friends told about LRBT’s free eye services.
At Korangi hospital Sobia was given emergency treatment and corneal repair surgery under general anesthesia was carried successfully the next day. Upon her discharge Rashid was beaming with joy. His daughter’s pain had subsided and the Doctors told him that there were bright chances that the vision in the injured eye would return. Sobia’s nightmare was over and she had been saved from a life of darkness.
Sobia is one of the 24 million people who have been treated free of all charges by LRBT in the last 27 years. Founded in 1985 by 2 retiring CEOs: Graham Layton & Zaka Rahmatulla it has grown from a humble mobile unit to a network of 17 eye hospitals and 48 clinics located in such a way that most Pakistanis are within a 3 hour bus ride of a LRBT facility. The criticality of LRBT’s free services can be judged from the fact that it treats 36 % of all eye patients, performs 27 % of all eye surgeries and 32% of all pediatric eye surgeries in Pakistan all free. LRBT has been described by Sight Savers International (aka The Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind) as the only safety net that the poor have to access quality eye care in Pakistan.
We expect more than 2.3 million patients to visit our hospitals/clinic for free treatment this year for which we need to approx. raise Rs. 550 million.