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Blind with bilateral cataract, Shamsun could only hear as her husband was shot dead and five of her children were killed with machetes. One of the girls was raped before being murdered. Their bodies were burnt to destroy the evidence.

Her neighbours confirmed to her what her eyes couldn’t: her family was gone.

With the help of her son-in-law and other villagers, she escaped and spent four days in the jungle and hills, and across the river before finally making it to the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

Walking for days through the jungle across mountains and rivers is unimaginable. But for the refugees who are also blind, it’s impossible without the help of family or neighbours.

The Rohingya tell us they have never been able to see a doctor, or visit a hospital. Local doctors think up to 50,000 people need surgery.

Shamsun received her surgery at the Baitush Sharaf Eye Hospital, The Foundation’s trusted local partner and the only eye hospital at Cox’s Bazar.

For Shamsun it’s hard to imagine there’s anything to smile about – displaced from your home and with most of your family killed. But when the patches come off the morning after her surgery Shamsun is happy to see again. She smiles at the nurse and clasps her hands in thanks.

The Fred Hollows Foundation wants to help more refugees like Shamsun - and with your help, we can do it.

Blindness is just one of many problems the Rohingya refugees face, but it’s a problem that The Fred Hollows Foundation can help fix. Learn more.

Patient Story: Shamsun
Patient Story: Shamsun