The gift of glasses for a girl living in poverty is a simple and empowering investment in her future – an investment that will improve her access to education and life opportunities, ensuring she can be more involved in her community and the world. When you help her see, you help her succeed.
Most eye conditions are treatable but when you live in poverty and your parent’s can’t afford an eye test or glasses, your dreams slowly fade. From just $7 you can give a girl like Shalom the future she dreams of.
Little Shalom sits on the veranda and listens to the sounds of other children playing. When the excited calls of the children become louder, she tries to join in to play… but she is ignored and instead knocked down.
Shalom cannot run to chase the ball. Everything happens too fast for her.
Her loving mother, Fridah, watches with sadness from inside their small, dark home. “She cries often and comes to me to tell me: ‘Mummy, they knocked me down.’ When other children who see will laugh at her and knock her down, I feel like I want to cry,“ Fridah says as she fights to hold back her tears.
Shalom has cataracts in both eyes, and began losing her sight when she was around three years old. Two years later, she can’t see the board at school and has been asked by the teachers to stay home until her sight has been restored.
Fridah can’t afford the treatment or the glasses Shalom needs after in order for her to see well enough to go to school.
Her voice thick with emotion, Fridah says, “She always tells me that she’s my nurse, and practices to inject me with small sticks that she plucks from our sweeping broom! I fear that if I don‘t get money to operate her eyes, she will not see again and she will not be able to work in future. I fear that she will stay at home and depend on others…”
A girl who’s blind in a developing country faces a very uncertain future. Without an education, Shalom won’t easily find work or be able to provide for herself or a family in the future.
Fridah simply says in a sad voice, “You know that when you are blind here, it is not easy to find true love.”
First Allen’s eyes started itching, then they reddened, and them the pain became unbearable…
“I first thought it was because of the dust from the stone quarry where I work… I relaxed when the itching stopped,” her mum, Elizabeth says.
But at school, nine-year-old Allen wasn’t doing well.
“I started finding Allen outside the classroom. She would tell me teachers had pushed her out of the classroom because she could not see,” Elizabeth notes.
As Allen’s vision worsened, Elizabeth went to the government health centre, but the doctors told her to buy glasses to improve Allen’s sight. She couldn’t afford them, so she took Allen to our partner hospital who diagnosed cataracts in Allen’s eyes.
Elizabeth returned home and gave up, thinking that her daughter would never be able to see again… making her more vulnerable and dependent on others for survival.
“One time, she went to the water spring and the children there smeared hot pepper in her eyes. They beat her up and she came back crying. I felt like someone was piercing my heart with an arrow…” Elizabeth says in anguish.
Elizabeth’s prayer is for a good Samaritan to help to fund the surgery Allen needs and provide the glasses she will need to see clearly, and live her life.
Allen agrees sadly, “I want to be able to see like others, I will go back to school to perform better than others. I want to become a nurse to treat the sick.”
Minu has never been outside the confines of her small village in one of the poorest parts of India. She’s never been to school, and she hasn’t got many friends.
“She cannot do much due to her impaired vision,” explains her mother Sunita. “She mostly sits alone or helps with simple chores around the house… She has no friends as she never went to a school.”
Time is running out for the girl who’ll soon turn ten. The white spots from the cataracts in her eyes are growing, and, for a girl without sight in a developing country, the future doesn’t look bright.
Sunita tells us, “People tend to exclude and bully a person with visual impairment. Like in the case of Minu, children in the neighbourhood often call her names like ‘blind’ and ‘scary eyes’, and do not allow her to play with them. Sometimes they even beat her and run away.”
She pauses, then adds with a heavy heart, “I wish my daughter received treatment for her vision impairment. I wish her sight is restored and she can attend school with the other children.”
Minu needs an operation to remove the white spots – cataracts – and a pair of glasses to help her eyes see clearly. “What can we do? We cannot afford to travel and spend so much on one child. There are four other children in the house,” laments father Arun in despair.
So Minu sits quietly in the yard by herself. Waiting for someone like you.