The village of Harulia Bazar, where Aklima lives, is prone to flooding, so members of the community have learned to build their homes from corrugated metal and bars. They also raise them from the ground on concrete blocks.
When the monsoon season hits and rain starts to fall, the mud in the village becomes very slippery. This spells danger for any small child, let alone one who is slowly going blind from cataracts.
Aklima has had cataracts in both her eyes since birth, but her parents only noticed the problem recently when they realised she couldn’t see things they gave her. Sharmin Akhter, Aklima’s mother, told us: “When I gave her something to eat, she couldn’t find the food in front of her. That’s how I knew there was a problem with her sight.”
Sharmin quickly became terrified for her daughter. “Since I noticed that Aklima can’t see anything, I have to be with her all the time. There are lots of slippery areas around our house – there are also ponds where Aklima could fall in and drown. Wherever I go, I take Aklima with me.”
Desperate to help their daughter, Aklima’s father Saidul took her to a local eye clinic, where she was diagnosed with cataracts and referred for surgery – paid for partly by Sightsavers.
It’s important that young children who are diagnosed with cataracts, such as Aklima, are operated on as soon as possible. At their age the eyes are still developing, and cataracts that block their vision can halt this process. If the cataracts are not treated in time, their sight may never return.
Luckily for Aklima, her diagnosis came just in time. “The doctor gave us hope that if the surgery is done soon Aklima can be cured completely,” Aklima’s father told us. “We are ready for her to have her surgery. We are hopeful Aklima will be cured.”