Tuesday, 10 Aug 2021
As someone who believes passionately that all people are created equal, it was a very personally challenging epiphany joining CBM eight years ago. With more than 25 years in international development work, I’ve seen quality projects and positive outcomes for poor people in many developing countries. What I hadn’t realised was that without real intention the world’s largest minority, people with disabilities, were often left out of these efforts…unable to access basic services, go to school or earn a living. In short, I’ve never seen anything more compelling than the work of CBM.
For nearly a decade, Miracles Day has been one of the most significant days on the CBM calendar. It is an opportunity for Australians to show the generosity we are renowned for, and to change the lives of people at risk of permanent blindness, in some of the poorest parts of the world for just $33.
For the people CBM supports, Miracles Day is just that – a day when miracles occur. A $33 Miracle gift from a generous donor provides sight-saving cataract surgery to restore the vision of someone at risk of going needlessly blind, opening up opportunities not previously possible.
Cataracts cloud the eye’s lens and are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Safe and effective surgeries are available but many people in developing countries cannot afford, or even access, adequate treatment.
For children, a Miracle means a chance to return to school, receive an education and work towards a successful future. Cataract surgery for adults mean they can return to work and provide for their families – instilling hope for the future.
Miracles Day has never been more critical than it is in 2021. As we know, COVID-19 continues to have a devastating impact around the world. And people with disabilities, living in poverty, have been catastrophically impacted.
In some of the countries where CBM works, like Bangladesh, India, Nepal and the Philippines, only urgent eye health services provided in hospital have been able to continue. Screening camps – where cataracts are often identified and patients can be referred for surgical interventions – have been cancelled or delayed due to social distancing rules and restrictions on large gatherings of people.
CBM’s partners now need support to work through long lists of patients, urgently needing their vision restored.
As a Christian organisation, CBM Australia stands for inclusion, compassion, and justice. These values have guided our work for more than 40 years, and globally for more than 110 years. That is why in 2021, we have the bold goal to provide 50,000 Miracles gifts of sight to the people who need them most.
For just $33, about the cost of two movie tickets, you can help people in need like Sathi. This 12-year-old girl lives with her family in a village in Bangladesh. Several years ago, her parents noticed she had vision problems, which started causing barriers to reading and attending school.
Sadly, they did not have the money for the treatment Sathi required. Her father told us “If I had the money, I would initiate the treatment the moment I knew about the cataract. I don’t have money, I feel bad.”
Sathi’s father’s work was also impacted by COVID-19, reducing his monthly wages and making surgery even more unattainable.
Before her CBM-supported surgery, Sathi told us how her life would be different in the future. “If the problem can be solved by having [an] operation, it will be good for me. I will be able to read properly, play, watch TV and go to school. If I can see better, I will feel better.”
Sathi is far from alone in experiencing this devastating, yet treatable, problem. Vision impairment and avoidable blindness are two of the main public health problems in Bangladesh, and about 80 per cent of people with vision impairment have treatable cataracts.
And while now especially, changing the world can seem an impossible task, CBM’s Miracles Day offers us all the chance to do just that. During the last eight years, Australians have shown enormous generosity in providing 242,220 – almost quarter of a million – Miracles gifts of sight-saving surgery.
This Miracles Day, can you join me to change the lives of even more people in need? Just $33 will provide sight-saving surgery to someone living in poverty. Give a Miracle today.
Jane Edge, CEO of CBM Australia.