CEO Jane Edge reflects on Miracles Day journey
Stories | July 17, 2022
As someone who believes passionately that all people are created equal, it was a very personally challenging epiphany to join CBM almost nine years ago.
With more than 25 years of 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.
Miracles Day has been one of the most significant days on the CBM calendar for nearly a decade. 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, all 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 means they can return to work and provide for their families – instilling hope for the future.
Children like Matthew need your help.
Matthew’s parents desperately wanted to help him see properly. They took him to a local clinic with hope in their hearts.
They learned about cataracts and that there was a treatment to prevent their son from going needlessly blind. But then their hopes were dashed when they were told the cost – more than twice what they earned in a month.
How were they supposed to survive, feed Matthew and his brother, feed themselves, pay their rent and bills and save enough money to pay for his treatment? Without surgery, Matthew’s vision will never get better. His parents’ greatest fear is what all of this means for their son’s long-term future prospects.
Matthew’s dad told us, “My heart feels great pain when I am thinking that my son might not be able to see anything at all one day.”
Miracles Day has never been more critical than it is in 2022. As we know, COVID-19 continues to have a devastating impact worldwide. And people with disabilities living in poverty have been catastrophically impacted.
In some countries where CBM works, like Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines, only urgent eye health services provided in hospitals could continue during peak COVID-19 outbreaks. In addition, screening camps – where cataracts are often identified, and patients can be referred for surgical interventions – were cancelled or delayed due to social distancing rules and restrictions on large gatherings of people.
Worldwide, around 94 million people have cataracts. Unfortunately, most of these people live in the world’s poorest countries and cannot afford cataract surgery, so they are going needlessly blind.
CBM’s partners now need support to work through long lists of patients who urgently need their vision restored.
As a Christian organisation, CBM Australia stands for inclusion, compassion and justice. These values have guided our work for more than 45 years and globally for more than 115 years. That is why in 2022, we have the bold goal to provide 52,000 Miracle gifts of sight to those who needed them most.
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 past 10 years, Australians have shown enormous generosity in providing more than 300,000 Miracle 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.
Jane Edge, CEO of CBM Australia.
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