When her parents heard about the Beeve Foundation’s work they decided to seek its help in an attempt to restore their daughter’s eyesight and alleviate her suffering. Together, they embarked on a long journey.
“It took 16 hours to get from the island where I lived to the mainland of Fiji. Then we traveled another 12 or so hours to reach Turtle Island, where the Beeve Foundation was at,” recalled Narayan.
The Beeve Foundation for World Eye & Health is a non-profit organization that seeks to provide eye care to the residents of Fiji, located in Southeast Asia.
Founded by Jerold Beeve of La Cañada Flintridge, an ophthalmologist practicing in Glendale, the organization has conducted 19 missions to Fiji so far and more than 2000 total surgical eye procedures for Fijians.
Hundreds of patients pour into Savusavu Hospital during the week that the Beeve Foundation visits Fiji, some traveling very long distances, as Narayan had. Although not all can be treated successfully, the team of doctors works more than 12 hours each day to improve the health of patients.
In 1997, Narayan was the first patient in Fiji to receive the corneal transplant, successfully regaining vision in her left eye. While still legally blind in her right eye, she completed high school and college, and went on to receive her teaching credentials.
“Sometimes, it got difficult getting through schooling and becoming a teacher,” she noted. “The fourth graders that I teach would leave the classroom to play outside, while I stayed inside by myself.”