Yaara currently in: Lebanon
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Meet Lebanon’s cannabis farmers joining the fight against IS (SBS)

EXCLUSIVE: They are unlikely first responders to Islamic militants, but heavily armed cannabis farmers who once fought against the Lebanese army are now turning their weapons elsewhere.

Watch the story on SBS World News.

Lagos Rising (SBS)

Known as the ‘London of Africa’, Lagos in Nigeria is the world’s fastest growing megacity, riding on the back of a lucrative oil industry and rapidly expanding economy.

A huge new high-rise city is being built on land reclaimed from the sea and it’s set to become one of the world’s most populous cities in the next decade.

But millions of residents live in the city’s slums with little access to proper sanitation and infrastructure, and they wonder if they’ll see any benefit from the boom.

Yaara Bou Melhem looks at both sides of life in Lagos and asks what’s being done to ensure that no one is left behind in the race for progress.

See more on the SBS Dateline website.

Gift of Sight (Al Jazeera)

–A Nepalese doctor takes an Indonesian woman under his tutelage and brings the gift of sight to the world’s destitute.–

Nepal’s Himalayan mountain range is one of the most picturesque places in the world. But its stunning beauty is fading from view for many of the villagers who call the region home. Exposure to ultraviolet rays at such high altitudes is causing many to lose their sight.

Ophthalmologist Dr Sanduk Ruit has made it his life mission to bring sight to everyone who needs it, regardless of their ability to pay. Known in Nepal as the “God of Sight”, Ruit has helped more than 100,000 people blinded by cataracts see again. His surgeries often take him into the remote mountains, where patients are too poor and weak to travel to his clinic in the capital, Kathmandu.

In such isolated landscapes, the doctor and his team set up eye camps, performing free, astonishingly fast surgeries using a stitch-free simple surgical technique called ‘Ruitectomy’, which he pioneered. The procedure is now replicated across the developing world.

His assembly line-like surgeries are astonishingly fast. During his time in the Bamti district, he aims to complete 50 surgeries each day while doctors in the West only do 10 to 15 on a busy day.

Now, a young female doctor from a remote Indonesian island is travelling to the Himalayas for a month-long boot-camp with Dr Ruit, hoping to acquire the skills to bring back the gift of sight to her people.

From Nepal to Indonesia, 101 East visits communities paralysed by preventable blindness and meets the doctors whose mission is to restore sight, and more importantly hope.

See more on the 101 East website or watch on vimeo

© 2011 Yaara Bou Melhem