A happy childhood for Haris

Asghar Ali was so fearful of his son Haris being ridiculed by others due to his lazy left eye that he kept him away from school.

Asghar's fears were not unfounded. He once caught his neighbour calling Haris "Kana", meaning ‘one eyed person'.

Although he stood up for his son against anyone who would label him with such hurtful names, Asghar knew he could not protect him from stigmatisation for the rest of his life.

Haris developed squint when he was just one month old. His parents had initially hoped the problem would cure itself. But after three years with no improvement, a visiting doctor advised them that surgical intervention was the only way to improve their young child's vision.

Asghar was both spirited and disheartened by the doctor's prognosis.

In one sense he now knew that there was a way to correct Haris' condition, but on the other hand surgery costs would total approximately three months' wages. With a family income equivalent to just $2 a day, Asghar struggled to even feed his family - so paying for the surgery felt like an impossible task.

Imagine knowing that you could change your son's life and rescue him from a lifetime of torment, only to be deprived of that opportunity because you couldn't finance the operation.

Luckily for Haris and his family, The Fred Hollows Foundation is committed to providing eye services to the people of Pakistan - and especially to those who are in the most need financially.

After being examined by Dr Muhammad Naeem, a Fred Hollows Foundation-trained paediatric ophthalmologist, Asghar decided to go ahead with Haris' surgery. The Foundation agreed to cover the entire cost of the surgery so Asghar didn't have to worry about the impact on his family.

Haris' left eye was strengthened during surgery and the next day Dr Naeem was able to reveal a very positive result. Asghar was thrilled that his son's condition had been corrected.

"We're really pleased with how the operation went and the surgeon was brilliant," said Asghar.

"Haris' eyesight is so much better and we're so happy with how his eyes look."

With his condition corrected, Haris can now be like any other healthy child.

"I am very happy and thankful to The Fred Hollows Foundation. I'm now confident in sending my son back to school so that he can have a happy childhood, play, study, learn and have a good future," Asghar said.

The Foundation provides sub-specialty training (such as paediatrics) and sophisticated medical equipment to eye doctors throughout Pakistan. Without the training and resources, children like Haris would either have to travel long distances to receive care, or miss out on treatment altogether.

> Learn more about our Pakistan program.
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