Author: Jane Edge, CEO of CBM Australia
Pictured: Joanna with her mother Frenil at their shop.
For 110 years around the world, and more than 40 years in Australia, CBM has provided impactful and sustainable support to people with disabilities living in the poorest countries.
From here in Australia, this work transforms the lives of up to 10 million people each year and provides valuable opportunities for people to reach their full potential.
A key element of this work is our Inclusive Eye Health Initiative, developed and implemented in response to the Vision 2020 Global Declaration, which aims to eliminate the main causes of preventable and treatable blindness by the year 2020.
Almost all [90%] people who are visually impaired live in developing countries, and our commitment to inclusiveness across all of our operations means we ensure our eye health programs are accessible to people with disabilities and others who are marginalised and excluded.
CBM also works towards greater social inclusion for people with long-term vision impairments, by supporting them to access wider health and education opportunities.
Last year, CBM worldwide provided eye screening, examination and treatment to 9.2 million people and funded 749,022 eye surgeries.
The three priorities of CBM’s Inclusive Eye Health Initiative are strengthening national eye health systems, improving access to inclusive, comprehensive eye care systems and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
These priorities encompass working closely with partners to help them implement inclusive, comprehensive eye health services that are integrated into national health systems, interventions to prevent and treat avoidable blindness, and expanding access to preventative and curative services to marginalised communities experiencing endemic diseases.
Miracles Day, on 6 August, is a critical part of our ongoing work to restore sight and transform lives in some of the poorest countries in the world including Nepal, India, the Philippines, Vietnam and Bangladesh.
This year, on Miracles Day, we are asking Australians to give a $33 “Miracle”, to fund sight-saving surgery for someone who has cataracts – a clouding of the lens which is one of the leading causes of vision impairment.
The majority of people with cataracts live in poverty and cannot access affordable eye care. However, cataracts can be surgically removed in as little as 12-minutes, with high success rates.
Joanna (pictured above), who lives in a remote island in the Philippines, was just 13 when she woke up blind from cataracts caused by Type 1 Diabetes. Her family had to make the heartbreaking choice between buying her insulin and paying for eye surgery. Joanna remained blind until CBM and its partner in the Philippines performed the surgery free of charge.
The positive impact on his life has been profound. Three years after surgery, Joanna is an honour student in year 11. She inspired her mother to open a shop in front of their house, which provides the family with a reliable income. The ripple effect from Joanna’s cataract surgery has been life-changing for her and her family.
Miracles like these only happen because of the generosity of our supporters, who are committed to inclusion and compassion. Their love and faith supports us to change lives every day.
A $33 donation can give the gift of sight this Miracles Day.