The Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust (LRBT), which is the largest free eye care network in Pakistan, has reached yet another milestone of treating its 50 millionth patient: 28-year-old Shabbir. No other charitable organisation has ever treated such an enormous number of patients in the country.
The LRBT’s services to underprivileged Pakistanis stand unparalleled as they propel forward their mission that “No man, woman or child should go blind simply because they cannot afford treatment”.The only breadwinner of a household of eight, Shabbir is a fruit seller. With a father whose deteriorating health keeps him on his toes, Shabbir was so involved in caring for his father that he scarcely noticed that his vision would get blurred at times.As months passed, he was unable to see at all with his right eye and had limited vision in his left. His mother finally convinced him to go to a local clinic and get it checked, then he was diagnosed with cataract in both eyes and advised immediate surgery.
He did not know how he would get the money for treatment, and without surgery he would have surely gone blind.But then a friend told him about the LRBT Korangi Hospital and its free eye care services for the poor.Shabbir was treated for free there, and is now back to selling fruits and building a life for himself and his family. While leaving the hospital, he said: “My family sees a ray of hope after seeing me overcome my ordeal. I don’t have words to describe how the LRBT not only gave me my sight back but also something much more valuable: hope for the future.”