Sum Meyle, a mother of five children, was on cloud nine when she heard that a Chinese medical team, under the Belt and Road Cataract Blindness Eradication Campaign, was on a mission to provide free cataract surgeries here.
Could not afford a surgery cost, the 36-year-old mother had lived with cataract on her left eye for years. Recently, however, her eye condition got worse and forced her to quit a job as a security guard in Phnom Penh. “A cataract surgery on my left eye would cost 350 U.S. dollars in Phnom Penh,” she told Xinhua, “I don’t have any savings and can’t afford it.”
Meyle divorced her husband almost six years ago because of domestic violence, and a injury to the eye was the cause of her cataract. Poverty has forced her two teenage daughters to make a living by working respectively in a hair salon and a noodle shop in Phnom Penh, and her two sons to live in an orphanage in Prey Veng province. She is currently living with her six-year-old daughter in a tiny rented room that costs her 15 U.S. dollars per month.