Wednesday, 07 Jul 2021
In many ways, Efril is just like any other nine-year-old girl. She loves playing with her cooking set and spending time with her cousins. She is protective of her three younger siblings and has a best friend at school named Mary-Rose.
But sadly, Efril, who lives with her family in a small village in the Philippines, has a deteriorating eyesight problem. Due to this, she doesn’t have the freedom or opportunities of other children her age.
“The blurry light is making me uncomfortable and when the light is too bright it even hurts my eyes,” she explains.
“It is difficult and dangerous to cross the road, my parents need to help me with it. I am too scared to do it alone. I get lost in unfamiliar places.”
Efril is enthusiastic about school, but struggled with reading and writing, particularly as her eyesight continued to decline.
Her family were unable to afford the health care Efril so desperately needed to excel at school.
Thankfully, there was a life-changing breakthrough. A teacher at Efril’s school, aware of the challenges she was facing, contacted a CBM partner organisation who arranged for Efril’s vision to be assessed.
There are safe and effective surgeries available to remove cataracts and improve eyesight, but Efril’s family’s tale of being unable to afford adequate health care is a common one in some of the poorer parts of the world.
CBM’s partner agency referred Efril and her four-year-old cousin Lennard for sight-saving surgery that gave them the opportunity to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
As she waited nervously for her surgery, Efril spoke about her favourite pop stars and added that “I hope that I can see how they look after the doctor has healed my eyes.”
Before too long, Efril’s eyes were treated and her eye patch was removed. Her ophthalmologist indicated the prognosis was very positive and that the little girl’s future prospects were bright.
He was right. Almost immediately after returning home from the hospital, Efril’s family noted her increased independence and her willingness to take on more responsibility caring for her siblings. Seeing their sister’s life transformed, they are looking forward to their own cataract surgeries.
Her mother Rosanna said, “When Efril was sweeping before, she was not able to see, if the ground is clear. After the surgery of her left eye, she is able to recognise, if she has missed to clean a spot. And she reminds me, when I have missed a spot on the ground.”
Efril no longer needs her family’s support to walk to school or to the local store. Instead, she hold hands with her five-year-old sister Grashela and leads the way.
The chance to live life like a regular child has been the greatest gift of all.
This Miracles Day, August 19, can you give the Miracle of sight to change the life of a child like Efril? Just $33 will provide sight-saving surgery to someone living in poverty.