God will provide
In 2013, the Bangladesh hospital granted me an Honorary Lifetime Membership; a huge honour for a Christian woman in a Muslim society, and I knew God was asking me for a longer commitment.
In 2015, I became increasingly aware that children were going blind through cataracts and, as they were unable to pay towards their sight saving surgery, they were being turned away. This would lead to a life of avoidable blindness. I knew I had to do something. With God’s help, I raised £5,000 for 60 children to have surgery. However, the need was ongoing in an expanding society. How did I take that forward? I had no idea, but I knew God knew.
A Christian couple approached me in 2017 saying they would like to help me make the work a recognised charity. We prayed about this, and after various confirmations, and seven Christian trustees, our charity Vision for Bangladesh was registered.
The charity objectives are: to find and fund those children needing sight-saving treatment, to continue to help the hospital in replacing broken equipment and to facilitate extra training. Through the advice of the hospital, and also Ivan Samadder who is a Bangladeshi Christian friend, who has a small witnessing work in the Tea Gardens of Bangladesh, we have identified this as the area God wants us to concentrate on.
Within 162 Tea Gardens there are 100,000 workers and their families. Marginalised by society, with no available healthcare, and earning under a dollar a day, these people live in extreme poverty. They are Hindu in their belief and have never heard about Jesus.
So in January 2020, we started Project Tea Garden. Mamony, our first key worker, is a Tea Garden girl herself. We have trained her in basic healthcare and how to identify sight problems in children. She is working full-time, knocking door-to-door and seeking out those children going blind and giving mothers basic health and hygiene advice. Ivan Samadder is overseeing her work, and has become integral to managing our work on the ground. His Christian witness in the Tea Gardens over the last ten years has already seen many baptisms, and has gained the respect of the Tea Garden managers.
Since January, Mamony, with Ivan’s help, has taken five minibuses full of children to the hospital, where they have received the necessary sight-saving surgery, treatment or glasses. Today her work is ongoing into a sixth Tea Garden. In the near future we hope to fund health awareness camps in the Tea Gardens and screening camps for those children as yet unseen or missed.
Our recent purchase for the hospital was a teaching microscope camera, which relays operation technique onto a TV for junior doctors to learn new skills. Ophthalmologists are a rare breed in Bangladesh and we need to encourage them to stay in the specialty.
Please pray that God’s blessing, through our medical help, will be poured out on these unreached people as promised through Isaiah:
“I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them...These things I will do for them, And not forsake them.” Is. 42:16
Jesus said: “For you have the poor with you always…” The Tea Garden people are some of the poorest people on earth. They need His love in so many ways, and with His help, we will try to reach as many as we possibly can.