About a boy named Nezir
Precisely a decade after the start of AMDA's emergency relief activities for the refugees of Kosovo, Ms. Mari Kondo, a former AMDA staff and presently Associate Professor at Japan's Okayama University, revisited the country for the first time at the beginning of this month.
Toward the end of the civil strife of the late '90s, Ms. Mari Kondo was assigned to AMDA's emergency relief project in Albania. Although AMDA's original focus had been on the mobile clinic services for the refugees in Albania, after the peace treaty in 1999 AMDA shifted its objective to rehabilitative assistance for the repatriating refugees. At the same time, AMDA moved the location of its activities to the southernmost province in Kosovo, Prizren.
It was in the streets of this city where some of our AMDA staff including Ms. Mari Kondo had a memorable encounter with Nezir, a three-year old boy at that time. Still today, Nezir remembers very clearly the tall tree where they met for the first time in 1999.
Nezir had been diagnosed with Retinoblastoma, a type of eye cancer. His right eye had already been replaced with an artificial eye ball. Much needed continuous treatment for his complete cure was not available in Kosovo at that time. So the search began for hospitals and other means to help Nezir in his fight against the disease. It was Kanazawa University Hospital in Japan who promptly responded to the call for help.
With countless support from embassies, private sectors, Japanese media and AMDA supporters, Nezir and his parents set their first step on Japanese soil on the 7th of July, 2000. His treatment and stages of recovery were televised and gained a lot of public attention. In 2008 Nezir came back to Japan for his check up. The diagnosis showed a complete cure of the malady.
Ms. Mari Kondo and Nezir were reunited after a decade in Prizren, a beautiful city where now peaceful life has returned to the people.?Ms. Kondo visited Nezir at his school.?Nezir is now 13 years old, enjoying his school life just like all others of his age. All the story about Nezir with the recent reunion with Ms. Kondo was broadcasted on television in Japan on the 21st of May.
About Dr. Gazmnd Kacaniku and AMDA Kosovo
Right after Nezir's initial visit to Japan for his treatment in 1999, AMDA invited one young doctor from Prishtina University Hospital, the biggest medical institution in Kosovo, to study in Japan. The devoted young doctor was Dr. Gazmend Kacaniku, now heading AMDA Kosovo Chapter.
Turning fifty this year, Dr. Gazmend attained Ph.D. two years ago and is now a professor in the ophthalmology department.?Driven by his passion, Dr. Gazmend is helping many patients with the laser operation devices donated from Japan.?He keeps them in near-mint condition performing maintenance on them by himself.?
Educating next generation of medical professionals is another passion of his.?Teaming up with a young doctor and a nurse, Dr. Gazmend conducts laser treatments on a daily basis, giving these young professionals on-the-job training.?
People's simple and earnest desire to help a boy suffering from eye cancer brought back happiness to a boy and his family.?It was not only one life that was changed for the better as this led to our Dr. Gazmend, Chairperson of AMDA Kosovo, who now helps many countrymen of Kosovo to regain health.?
This article is based on Ms. Mari Kondo's personal account on her recent trip to Kosovo.