This bright smile belongs to Namey, who lives in a small village in Arunachal, India. Namey is 91 years old, and very popular with the children of her tribe, who affectionately call her “The Smiling Granny.”
But Namey’s face wasn’t always so happy. Over the past few years, her vision slowly became worse and worse, until finally, she realized she was completely blind. She needed support from her family to walk, both inside and outside – and she was always worried about falling. She felt she was a burden to her extended family. Even for personal hygiene, she was dependent on others.
Like so many elderly people faced with extreme poverty and the limitations of blindness, The Smiling Granny became depressed and withdrawn. Her family and friends were concerned about the formerly-cheerful Namey. They advised her to visit the nearby hospital for medical treatment, but Namey was deeply afraid of medical treatment. She was adamant – she would not see a doctor.
But fortunately, some community health workers from an Operation Eyesight hospital partner were conducting a door-to-door survey, searching for people suffering from eye diseases… and Namey was diagnosed with bilateral cataracts.
Still stubborn, Namey initially refused help; but the trained health worker counselled her and followed up with her numerous times. Thanks to encouragement from her family, Namey slowly gained confidence to seek help.
On the day of her operation, Namey was nervous. But the next day, when the bandages came off and she discovered her vision was restored, she was overjoyed!
Today, Namey’s no longer dependent on others’ help. And much to the village children’s delight, The Smiling Granny is walking around the community by herself again, visiting friends and attending church, which she hadn’t been able to do for a few years ago, due to blindness. She’s very grateful to generous donors like you for helping her to see again and regain her independence. Thank you!