Blinded Bangladeshi Woman Learning To Live Without Sight

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VANCOUVER – The Bangladeshi University of British Columbia student blinded by her husband during a visit back home in what was described as a horrific attack said she’s determined to continue her education despite the challenges ahead.

Rumana Monzur, 33, was viciously assaulted in front of her five-year-old daughter on a visit home to Bangladesh in June. Her husband, Hassan Sayeed, is charged with attempted murder. He allegedly gouged her eyes and bit her throat and nose after a violent fight over her studies in Canada. Monzur underwent multiple surgeries but her sight could not be saved.

Speaking to CTV News, the Fulbright scholar said she is doing her best to live in the moment after learning she would never see again. “When I think about my academic life I can think about my future. Other than that for everything else I’m just living one day at a time,” she said in an interview Tuesday at UBC.

Monzur returned to Vancouver in July with the hope at least part of her vision could be restored. “I think everyone was hoping including my family and myself that something could be done to restore my vision,” she said. But after further medical assessments with UBC eye specialists, Monzur received the devastating news that the damage to her eyes was catastrophic. Her eyesight would never return.

She went into recovery in a family home in UBC residence with her father and her young daughter soon joined them. “My daughter, when she first came, she thought that okay if mom went there for treatment when I next see her she will be okay,” she said.

“When she first saw me and knew that I still can’t see she was like, her little heart broke and I could feel that.” The diagnosis devastated Monzur but she said the support from friends and the university community gave her strength. “They treat me as the same old Rumana they knew and it feels really good,” she said. Monzur is currently on medical leave from her master’s degree in political science.

So far, $85,000 has been raised to help Monzur with her medical and living costs. Monzur is now undergoing rehabilitation training to help her live without vision. She is also learning Braille and working with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind to learn new routines, like cooking and getting around her home.