Some of my cousins from the southern part of the United States refer to family reunions as opportunities for us to “love on” each other. This is an appropriate description of the work of Sudanese ophthalmologist Dr. Nabila Radi, “mother” of Together for Sudan’s enormously popular Eye Care Outreach. Begun in the squatter settlements outside Khartoum in 2002, this project has benefitted thousands of people, including changing the lives of hundreds by cataract removal. Since September 2006 the TfS Eye Care Project has also been working in the Nuba Mountains where it has been funded through Together for Sudan by the Austrian charity Light for the World.
Dr. Nabila’s concern for destitute, displaced and outcast people is at the heart of the Eye Care outreach. Now widely praised, the project has benefitted thousands of poor and destitute
adults and children, many of whom had not previously seen a medical doctor. Without Dr. Nabila’s ability to recognize illness and disease, I’m certain that many more displaced Sudanese, including children, would have died. Since this Together for Sudan project began I have often trailed around behind Dr. Nabila, usually in the wretched squatter settlements outside Khartoum, and understood from the start that she never does things half way. But before that I, too, was a “blind” person and she had to nag me for at least two years before I gave in.
“Together for Sudan is an educational charity, not a medical charity,” I used to tell Dr. Nabila when she urged me to set up an eye care outreach. “We have to specialize because we can’t do everything.” Her reply was swift: “So how are people going to learn to read when they can’t see?”