A 21-year old tribal boy from the Ooladbari tea gardens of North Bengal, survivor of a near fatal accident, two years and nine months ago, can now lead a normal life, thanks to the intervention of two Salesian priests and an ‘angel’ from Italy.
Darshan Oraon, abandoned by his parents, lives with his ailing grandmother in the Oodlabari tea estate near Siliguri in North Bengal. His grandmother labours as a leaf- picker. Oodlabari Tea Estate is among the few fine green-tea producing gardens in Dooars.
Like most young boys, Darshan wanted to ride a motorbike. His insatiable desire to learn to ride ended in tragedy when a speeding motorbike hit him from behind, throwing him off the road and causing severe injury to his face and left eye on that ill-fated day in December 2018.
His friends rushed him to the Maxillofacial Department of Calcutta Medical College, a 12 hour train journey from Siliguri. In the Kolkata city hospital, his friends had to run from pillar to post to get the boy urgent medical attention. Finally, a doctor who took pity on the North Bengal youth. He attended to the injuries and sent him back home, telling him to wait for a call from the hospital for the corrective surgery.
As with most government hospital follow-up, it was to be a long wait.
The wait stretched on for 33 months. That call didn’t materialize. The boy wore a bandage to cover his disfigured eye and face.
Then the 74 year old Assistant Parish Priest of Don Bosco Parish in Oodalabari, Father Sebastian, came upon Darshan, who was working as a sales boy at a mobile shop.
Wanting to help Darshan, Father Sebastian contacted Father Mathew George, who works in Kolkata, to see if he could find some generous sponsor towards the expenses for the corrective surgery that would cost around two lakhs of rupees, says Salesian Father CM Paul of the Bosco Information Service.
Father George contacted Petra Theiner, the Founder of the organization, ‘Hope for a Better Tomorrow,’ in Sudtirol, Italy. Petra generously came forward to fund the surgery. Earlier, Petra had sponsored the fitting of artificial limbs on 12 people from North Bengal who lost one or both legs in accidents.
”If it was not for Father U P Sebastian and Father Mathew George, and the kindness of Madam Petra, the miracle of the restoration of my eyesight would never have happened,” said Darshan Oraon, a 21-year-old youngster after the eye surgery.
Darshan was operated on August 6, 2021, and discharged on August 8.
For his post-surgery recovery period, Darshan stayed at Don Bosco Nitika, Kolkata, for almost a week.
After removal of the stitches, Darshan left Kolkata by train on August 13 and reached back home on the following day to join his former job as a front desk salesperson in the mobile phone store..