CBM Miracles Celebration and Your Impact event

Video transcript

A very warm welcome,
everyone, and thank you so much

for joining us for CBM’s
Miracle Celebration Event.

My name is Jane Edge and as
part of our inclusive practise,

let me introduce myself
with a little more detail.

I have fair hair, glasses.

I’m wearing a dark blue jacket

and a green and black scarf today.

And I’m really really
delighted to be with you.

It’s such a wonderful opportunity

for us to come together united

in our commitment to
make a real difference

to some of the poorest

and most vulnerable people
living with disabilities.

We’ve enabled closed
captions for this event

and I’m thrilled to let you know

that there are over 260
people joining us today.

And I’d like to begin

by acknowledging the
traditional custodians

of the land on which I’m speaking today.

The Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung
people of the Kulin nation

and I pay my respects

to their elders past,
present, and emerging.

And I do extend that respect

to all First Nations people present today.

I’d like to also introduce you

to several people who’ll be speaking

from first-hand experience

on the life transforming
impact of a Miracle gift.

First, we’ll hear from Charity,

a dedicated field worker
in the Philippines.

Then Dr. Reden, a talented ophthalmologist

working the field as the face of CBM

and the bringer of the Miracle
as he’s often described.

Next, we’ll hear from Emma, a staff member

and supporter who will share her story

of what it looks like
to witness a Miracle.

And Wilson, the father
of eight-year-old John

who is going blind from cataracts.

So more about them and
from them very soon.

As I mentioned, today’s event
is a celebration of Miracles

and that means celebrating many things.

We come together to celebrate
the tireless dedication

of our outreach workers,
our partner doctors

and medical teams in the field.

We celebrate the impact

of sight restored for
the poorest of the poor

with over 400,000 Miracle
gifts over a decade,

each one are life transformed forever.

And as a result, we celebrate you,

our dedicated supporters
who make all this possible

for those who need it most,

ensuring so many lives are blessed.

Sadly, the need is greater than ever.

Every year, it’s estimated

that 500,000 children go needlessly blind

while 100 million people
worldwide have cataracts.

And cataracts are the world’s
leading cause of blindness.

And that’s why it’s
more important than ever

that we act now.

The majority of people with cataracts

live in low income countries
and many of them remain blind

because they simply can’t afford
the surgery to remove them.

The poorest, the most marginalised people

need support today.

And that’s why Miracles Day
this year is so important.

Your gift of $33 gives someone

in desperate need that
12-minute sight-saving surgery

that will transform their life forever.

I’d like to give you a sense

of what all of that really
means for individuals

and take you to the Philippines where CBM

has worked for the past 23 years.

This is where we find Charity,

an incredible outreach worker

whose job it is to identify
those people in need of surgery.

Charity’s relationships in
the community have meant

thousands of people
have been able to access

that cataract surgery.

Charity is the person responsible

for reaching seven-year-old Kyle.

Kyle developed cataracts in
both eyes following an accident

playing with his friends.

The family live in a makeshift
shelter next to a rice field

and their pastor told CBM’s
partner about Kyle’s condition.

The family have a strong faith

and never gave up hope that
their son would be healed.

However, the cost of surgery is equivalent

to 100 bags of rice, which
for a family simply struggling

to eat on a daily basis,
was just beyond their means.

In the video we’re about to watch,

Charity takes us into Kyle’s
home where he’s having

a final eye check before his surgery.

She shares how excited Kyle is

and she speaks about her passion,

what compels her to be part
of this extraordinary work.

Let’s join Charity now.

– Hi, my name is Charity.

And right now we are
here at the house of Kyle

and he is one of our beneficiaries
for the cataract surgery.

We are actually running a final screening

and he is very excited to
have his eyes operated.

And this one child will
have a good future,

again, because of you guys.

He’s so excited.

(gentle music)

Actually, I am always
happy when I’m in the field

because it’s very inspiring
hearing the stories

of other people,

the real life of the Filipinos.

And I actually felt very blessed
every time I listen to them

because I have no right to
complain because they have…

They are doing the hard work.

They do whatever it takes to do a living

but yet they did not complain.

And it’s a blessing for me as
well every time I help them,

being able to see and
bring them to a surgery

because right after the surgery

they would be very glad.

After going out on a surgery room,

they would say and exclaim,

“Oh, now I can see you clearly!”

So it’s very…

It’s very happy…

A happy heart that I could have.

And at the same time, you’ll be able to…

You’ll be able to help them
improve their lives afterwards.

And for the kids and for
those who have been operated,

they would tend to say that,

“Before I only knew you by your voice

and right now I’ve been
able to see you clearly

and not just listening to you.”

So I’m glad and it’s very rewarding for me

to be able to hear that from them.

It’s something that the
money could not buy.

It’s an experience that
money could not buy.

And that, for me, is very
inspiring and rewarding.

– It’s Jane speaking again
and let me offer a thank you.

I know all of you would want to offer

a thank you to Charity.

And the many others like her
who are integral to ensuring

the most vulnerable people
access the surgery they need.

Charity’s story and contribution
is a wonderful example

of why we celebrate
this tireless dedication

of our outreach workers.

As we saw in the video,
Charity meets with patients

and explains what’s involved in a surgery.

The reality is people get
anxious before surgery.

They’re fearful and her
presence calms them.

Charity and the many others like her

are just an extraordinary asset
to all the work that we do.

And having met so many of them personally,

I can certainly attest to
the impact that they have,

the connections that they make
and the bridge that they form

between that help that is most needed

the help you make possible

and the patients who need
that cataract surgery.

Now I’d like to introduce
you to Dr. Reden,

a gifted ophthalmic surgeon

who has been widely acknowledged
his dedication and skill.

Dr. Reden also works in the Philippines

and often in some of
the most dangerous areas

of the country.

He works with a partner hospital

and in the next video, you’ll hear how

Dr. Reden’s deep faith
led him to humbly use

his gifts and talents
to serve as he thinks

of this work as a ministry
and a call from God.

So let’s hear from Dr. Reden

as he shares how
important your support is.

(tranquil music)

– I am Dr. Reden Rabino,

a volunteer ophthalmologist
here in the Philippines.

Well, we do surgeries,

cataract surgeries all
around the Philippines,

and we usually do as a team,

and I partner with this organisation

because I can’t do it all alone.

I need a partner.

This is a big task,

especially doing cataract
surgeries all around the country.

Well, I think it’s God’s will

for me to become an ophthalmologist,

It’s not actually my plan
to be an ophthalmologist,

but to be an aesthetic surgeon.

But, you know, as time
goes along in my practise

as a volunteer doctor,

a rural health doctor in the province,

there comes the possibility
of undergoing ophthalmology

because this was an opportunity
that was given to me.

And so I think this is the best

that God has given me

to do His will,

to operate, most especially, the poor

who can’t afford surgery,
cataract surgeries

because cataract surgery
is here in the Philippines,

it’s very costly.

It ranges from 25,000 to 150,000 per eye.

And if you’re poor, you cannot afford it.

And for me, it’s an opportunity

to be of service to the people.

And, you know, God has
given me this talent

and I have to give it back to Him,

to give Him all the glory and the honour.

I’m already retired in government service

and I’ve said, “I’m now re-fired (giggles)

as a private citizen.”

And I thank God because
He’s given me good health,

good eyesight, and still
strong enough to travel.

And I think this is God,
what God has given me

to give it back to Him

all the talents that He has given me

so that I can be of service to Him,

I can help people who can’t
afford the cataract surgeries.

Well, for me, I think it’s,

the most encouraging for me,

are those patients who are really poor

and who have been blind
for quite some time

like 5 to 10 years.

And once you open their eyes,

they’re so happy, they cry out.

And this gives me the encouragement to do,

even though it’s really
hard for me travelling

and at the same time, do the operations,

it gives me the encouragement to do,

most especially, in
patients who are really poor

and who cannot afford

the cost of surgeries
in private hospitals.

I would like to encourage
all the donors in Australia

to please help the CBM

because CBM is one of our great supporters

here in the Philippines.

And so I am encouraging
all the donors in Australia

to be generous

because your money goes a long, long way,

especially in helping the poor.

So please, if you have
the resources with you,

your money goes a long, long way,

and it can help a lot of people
here, especially the poor.

And I hope that you’ll
continue to support us.

– It’s Jane speaking again

and what a wonderful story
to listen to from Dr. Reden.

And what a powerful reminder

of the kinds of commitment and passion

of the people on the ground
who make this work happen.

And the fact that, as Dr. Reden said,

it only happens because
of the generous support

of compassionate Australians like you.

That kind of partnership

makes all of these Miracles possible.

And that passion, that commitment
that we saw in Dr. Reden,

I’ve also seen many times.

Another quiet hero of
this work is Dr. Malik,

who I’ve met in Bangladesh.

Dr. Malik was so thankful
for the training he received

as part of the support
that we were providing.

That he proudly showed me the
extraordinary old ledgers,

two or three inches thick.

He kept them there in his
office in the tiny little clinic

that he would come to on a daily basis.

And he was so proud and yet
so humble showing me the names

of every single person who’s
had their sight restored

because of this programme,
because of his skill

and the training that’s been made possible

with support like yours.

He travels four hours every day,

six days a week to that
outreach clinic outside Dhaka

to operate on people who
would never otherwise

have the chance of treatment.

These talented and committed surgeons

literally bring about Miracles every day.

And again, they rely on
the support that you bring

to this Miracle’s work.

Today, we also celebrate
the impact of these sight

being restored for people amongst
those poorest communities.

So I’d like to introduce
you to Emma Griffiths

who travelled to the
Philippines and personally met

many people who have had
their sight restored.

Emma had a chance to meet a young father

who was in desperate need of surgery.

I’ll let Emma tell you the story.

– Hi everyone, it’s Emma
here from CBM Australia.

I’ve been on staff at CBM
for over four years now.

But before that, I was a supporter

and I’ve been a supporter of
CBM for over two decades now.

And what drew me to CBM’s work initially

was probably like many
of you, CBM’s sight work.

And over the years I’ve been supporting

and I know it’s incredibly impactful work.

Such a small donation can
have such a huge impact

on someone’s life, but I hadn’t
seen it with my own eyes.

So today I’d like to
share with you a story

of how I actually witnessed the impact

of what our donations actually do

in the life of someone overseas.

Recently I travelled to
the Philippines with CBM

and in my first day there,
against the tropical humidity

we went to an outreach screening
right in the local village.

It was in an open air basketball court,

all the walls were open.

And the background was full
of the drone of motorbikes,

small industry, community,
families, children, animals.

And all day we watched
as people kept thronging

and turning up until the space was filled

with people seeking
help for their cataracts

and for their blindness.

And I watched as the staff

patiently worked through the lines,

screening person after person.

And it was here that I first
met a man called Armon.

And I watched as he was led in by the arm

by who I later found out
was his older brother.

And Armon was telling his story.

He had a great job.

He’s married with a young wife

and they have a three-year old son.

And his wife’s actually heavily pregnant

with their second child.

But unfortunately, quite
suddenly, several months ago

Armon completely lost his
sight due to cataracts.

And what this meant, he was
telling me for his family

is he and his wife and child

actually have to live separately now.

Unable to care for her or his child

she’s had to move in with her family

and he’s had to move in
with his older brother.

And I just, my heart
broke listening to Armon.

This is a 27-year-old man

with so much ahead of him

and through no fault of his own

has been really, if without intervention,

stuck in poverty or subjected to poverty.

And really, this is what happens,

this is the stark and brutal reality

of what happens around the world.

But thankfully that day

our partner staff were
able to tell him that

we could help with his cataracts.

He was able to receive
free surgery to remove them

and that could be done quite quickly.

The second time I met Armon

was in the clinic a few days later.

We were there early

and we watched as the
patients started to arrive.

It’s a small courtyard brightly lit

with some awnings for shade.

And then the patients were
taken through room to room

until they were ready for their surgery.

And many of the faces of
the patients were familiar

from those I’d met the day before.

And again, I saw Armon arrive
being led by his brother.

And I spoke to him and he was nervous,

but really hopeful for
the surgery that day

and what would happen.

And as the tropical sort of
heat of the day intensified

so did the nervous
anticipation of, you know,

the hundreds of patients who were waiting

for their surgeries that day.

Finally, it was Armon’s turn

and he was prepped for his surgery.

The theatre where the surgeries were done

was quiet and cool.

It’s only a small, brightly lit room

probably about the size
of a regular bedroom.

And on the far back
wall is a picture window

looking out onto the bright
greens of banana leaves

and the sharp tropical
midday sun outside.

And I watched as Dr. Reden and his team

worked through patient after patient

quickly, efficiently and calmly
transforming lives, really,

removing cataracts.

And finally it was Armon’s turn.

And Dr. Reden worked on one eye,

removing the clouded lens of the cataract

and then inserting the new lens.

And when he finished one eye

he then worked on the second eye.

And before I knew it,

Armon was done and they
were removing the covers.

And as Armon sat up off the theatre table

I can see his face just
swivel towards that window.

And even as he was kind
of led past by the nurse,

his face was just sort of swivelling.

You could see he was fixed on this window.

And then he came past me

and he looked directly into my eyes.

His cataracts were gone.

And he just kept saying, “Thank
you, thank you, thank you.

I can see, I can see.”

And that’s what the gift
of a Miracle looks like.

That’s what it looks like.

(gentle piano music)

– [Staff] How is it after surgery? Can you see?

– Wonderful.

– [Staff] Is it clear?

– Yeah, it’s very clear.

– [Staff] Now you can see
your baby being born.

– I’m so very thankful. Thank you so much.

(gentle music)

– It’s Jane speaking

and that is the most powerful
expression of Miracles,

the story on the experience that Emma had.

And you can see how visibly moved she was

by meeting with someone
who has had the benefit

of the surgery that you make
possible, that incredible gift

of sight restored, celebrated when Armon

got to witness the birth
of his baby, a little girl.

And only possible because of
this movement of the heart.

Just what I call CBM’s work,

this extraordinary Miracle’s
movement that you are part of.

And if you have given to Miracle’s Day

you’ve made a difference
to someone like Armon.

So in keeping with the
theme of celebrating

this impact of sight restored,

I’m going to introduce you to
John and his father, Wilson.

Eight-year-old John’s living in poverty

in the Philippines and he’s
the eldest of two siblings.

John is an incredibly bright boy.

His favourite subject is maths

and he dreams of becoming an engineer.

John’s house is on the side
of a hill and it was destroyed

by a typhoon and the
family is incredibly poor.

Sadly, John had cataracts in both eyes

and by the time Charity
and the team met with John,

they found that his vision

had actually deteriorated so badly

he was struggling at school.

And those dreams, those
dreams that every child has

of growing up in the world
and making contribution,

in his case, being an engineer,
those dreams were fading.

His father, Wilson, was
so desperate to get help

for John and his family
were praying for a Miracle.

So in this last video,
you’ll see an interview

with Wilson as he shares their story.

My name is Wilson

The father of a
handsome son, John

We were disheartened and felt horrible

because it brought back memories of

when we were determined
to teach him everything,

but when he tripped
while walking,

we were dissatisfied and
reprimanded him.

And this made me feel
guilty because I didn’t pay attention

to what was happening to him
and just thought it was only normal.

Like we would reprimand
him for being stupid at times,

but we were unaware that
he actually had a vision issue,

and he wasn’t actually stupid;
instead, he just had a visual problem,

so we felt awful, especially when
he apologised to us about….

He apologises to us for he can
no longer be an engineer,

that he is no longer able
to reach his dreams

I felt awful for him, and we did not
understand the circumstances.

I could not imagine that
my child will be blind

Of course, I’ve felt every
bit of anxiety I’ve ever had.

I attempted to imagine myself in his

position by closing my eyes,

but I soon realised that there
was nothing I could see

and that,

without eyes, I would be useless.

Absolutely that’s the first thing we do.
We pray that he will be healed

given the challenge of not knowing
what to expect with his condition,

the best thing we can do
is to pray for his healing,

and that someone will help us,

someone with a golden heart.

And if this condition does not improve,
we ask God to provide us with

understanding about how to
handle it.

– It’s Jane speaking.

As we’ve heard, there
are many, many people

involved in making it
possible for someone like John

to get the surgery they need.

From outreach workers like Charity

to talented surgeons like
Dr. Reden and Dr. Malik

who deliver that life-changing surgery.

The most critical part is you.

Because without your generous gifts,

none of this is actually possible.

People like John would remain waiting,

not be able to get that support

and they’d be praying for
someone with a golden heart,

as Wilson says.

John and many others
need your help right now.

You can call 1-800-678-069

or go to cbm.org.au/miracles

and the details will be
on the screen at the end.

So I want to thank you

for your faithful support
and for joining today.

I hope like me, you’ve been
moved, touched, inspired,

to be part of Miracles this year.

And to close, please join me

in a moment of prayer or reflection.

Lord God, we know that in the
most challenging of times,

times of war, pandemics, disasters,

that you are nearest when we turn to you.

You lift us up.

We pray for the CBM
country teams and partners

who work tirelessly on the
ground to make change possible.

We pray also, Lord, for your blessing

on all gathered here today

and all of those who support CBM’s work.

Please bless those we seek to serve

in the poorest places, the
hardest places of our world.

May your love be a constant
source of strength and support.

Lord, thank you for
your call on our hearts

and for the opportunity
to live out our faith

as part of this movement
of love and justice

as we stand with people living
in poverty with disabilities.

In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

Thank you so much and I look forward

to seeing how together, we
can make more Miracles happen.

Thank you.