CARE LEAVER'S STORY – January 1 2023

Uncovering Blindfolds: Dr Dev Raj Bharati

Dev Raj Bharati was around one and half years old when his mother and father got separated and shortly after that, his mother remarried another man. They say when it rains it pours; it applied in the case of Dev. One year after his parents’ separation, his father died of tuberculosis, leaving him in the lurch. Since there was no one to look after him, Dev went to live with his paternal aunt. However, things were still not easy for him. 

 “Due to the poor economic condition, my aunt struggled to support me after some time,” Dev explains. “Once again, I felt abandoned.” 

Ultimately, relatives of Dev brought him to SOS Children’s Village Surkhet, a place Dev would call his home.    

Today, Dev is Dr Dev Raj Bharati. He is a 39-year-old Ophthalmologist and Cataract and Oculoplastic surgeon whose experience with abandonment led him to the SOS Children’s Village Nepal. 

“I was around three years old when I was placed in a wonderful and nurturing home in SOS Children’s Village Surkhet. My family at SOS Children’s Village Surkhet provided me with a sense of belonging and my mother showed me love, patience and kindness-all of things a child needs. I felt like I was finally at home,” says Dev.  

Dev (third from the right) with his SOS family.

Motivated and encouraged by those around him, Dev says that over time, he gained confidence and aspired for a great future. “With the support of my family, I felt I could do anything in life,” he says. “The sky is the limit.” 

During his childhood, Dev was a disciplined and studious boy. An avid reader, Dev secured the first position in Surkhet District in the Final Examination of Grade X in 1997.   

Dev was also equally involved in different extra-curricular activities including football. Although he was a good football player who won many accolades at school, when it came to choosing a career path, he eventually decided to study medicine and become a doctor. “Once I was deprived, and I was helped. The compassion shown by people around me changed my life. Now, it is my responsibility to give back to the society that raised me,” says Dev.  

Following his dream of becoming a doctor, Dev studied hard and eventually secured a scholarship for medical school. Along the journey of becoming a good doctor, he also got training opportunity in Oculoplastic surgery and phacoemulsification surgery from Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, Kathmandu, which is one of the leading eye hospitals in Nepal.  

After completing his medical residency and gaining years of training and work in the medical field, Dr Dev has been working as a Consultant Ophthalmologist also Cataract and Oculoplastic surgeon at Faten Bal Eye hospital, Nepalgunj Nepal since 2012. He is also a Chief Medical Director at the hospital, where patients from the Himalayan region of Nepal to the Northern districts of Uttar Pradesh, a state of India, come to get treatment for their eye problems, mainly cataracts, a condition in which the lens of the eye gradually becomes opaque resulting in blurry vision and eventually blindness.  

As of now, Dr Dev has personally performed cataract surgeries of more than 20 thousand patients. Also being an Oculoplastic Surgeon, he has conducted several eyelid and lacrimal surgeries. He also organizes free surgical eye camps in the remote part of the country to make eye treatments accessible to people who are otherwise deprived of proper eye health care due to the challenging geography, illiteracy and poor socioeconomic status.   

“Watching patients express their happiness after being able to see post cataract surgery is a magical moment. I think I am fortunate that I get to experience this over and over again and this is also what motivates me to do better at my work,” Dr Dev shares.  

In the near future, Dr Dev plans to establish a not-for-profit organization to deliver eye treatments to needy people free of cost.  “As Cataract is a leading cause for avoidable blindness in Nepal and also across the world, I want to dedicate my life towards eliminating the blindness in the region I work,” says Dr Dev.  

When asked what he appreciates most about his time at SOS Children’s Village Surkhet, Dr Dev gets emotional and says, “What I am today and what I have achieved, it is because of the nurturing, care and love I was given by my family at SOS Children’s Village Surkhet. Had SOS Children’s Village Surkhet not taken care of me, I would not have the courage to dream big in life.”