A Community-Based Inclusive Approach to Eye Care:
The Case of Khalida from Pakistan
A comprehensive community-based inclusive development approach to eye care services includes promotion, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of eye conditions.
Twenty-seven-year-old Khalida lives in Rahim Yar Khan district, on the border between Punjab and Sindh in Pakistan. She and her four brothers are supported by their father, who runs a donkey cart.
When she was five years old, Khalida fell into a water well and lost both her legs. Due to her disability and the fact that the family had no income to spare, she could not go to school and depended on her parents to get around. Despite her situation, she always wanted to learn new skills and help her father earn money.
"I spent my entire childhood at home as it was difficult for my parents to take me everywhere. Due to my disability, I missed many events and fun gatherings in the village," Khalida said.
Her wish was granted when CBM partner Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust (LRBT) enrolled her into a social welfare project.
It is not just about eyes...CBID and IEH working together
The Inclusive Eye Health Project, supported by CBM the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Layton Rahmatulla Benevolent Trust (LRBT) in Tehsil Sadiqabad Rahimyarkhan, provides a comprehensive community-based inclusive development approach to eye care services. The project includes promotion, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of eye conditions. The organisation also educates persons with disabilities about their rights, assists them obtain national identity cards, provides assistive devices and encourages the development of self-help groups and organisations of persons with disabilities.
With the help of the team, Khalida was registered with social welfare so that she could obtain a disability-specific national identity card. She also asked the project team to provide her with a mobility aid so that she could attend classes at the embroidery centre in her village and learn tailoring and sewing. After an assessment, she was provided with an adapted tricycle which she can now use to travel to surrounding villages to showcase and sell her embroidery.
"This mobility aid has given me the confidence to move around independently and attend the events I like. I had my hands to pursue my passion for Sindhi embroidery, but now I also have feet to move freely around my village, learn and improve my skills, interact with people and sell my work." Khalida said.
Before, she did not know her rights and what support was available for persons with disabilities. She was afraid of the future. Now she is much more hopeful about being fully included in society on an equal basis with others.
"I thank LRBT, CBM and BMZ for empowering women and girls with disabilities so that we can pursue our goals and contribute to society," Khalida said.