We plan to screen 3 million more children worldwide as part of our C20/20 campaign.
The following stories highlight the impact Sight for 1 Million Children has made in the lives of the children, their families, and their communities.
Darlene, 4 years old, and Myriam, 2 years old, live with their family in Burundi. The sisters were born with cataracts in both eyes. Their mother sensed something was wrong and took them to the local health center but the health center staff were not able to help her daughters. Based on feedback from the health clinic, the family tried their best to care for their daughters.
The girls’ mother and grandmother took turns caring for them while they went to work on the farm. “We had to be very keen for them to not get injured or involved in an accident,” their grandmother noted. “It was a distressing situation in the family. We didn’t know how to take care of a blind child.”
One day, while at the market, a man approached Darlene and Myriam’s mother. He had been trained by Seva’s partner hospital to recognize signs that someone had vision problems. He told their mom about the eye hospital and that they might be able to help. After a week of his persistence, the family agreed. Once at the hospital, the doctor diagnosed the girls with cataract and performed the surgery.
Today, the girls’ lives are completely different. Now they can walk freely without fear, they are able to play and feed themselves. Darlene’s mother is already making plans for her to begin school an unfathomable idea a few months back. Even more importantly, Darlene and Myriam can look around the world and see their bright future ahead for themselves.
Emily grew up in a poor family in Guatemala City. Ever since she started going to school, her parents realized that Emily's vision was not right. Soon the school principal told them that Emily could not see her books, her notebooks, and that she had to go up to the blackboard to write down what her teacher told her. The economic situation of her parents was strained. Despite their financial concerns, they wanted to make sure their daughter got the care she needed. They took her to Visualiza, Seva's partner in Guatemala, to get an eye exam. Because of our partnership, Visualiza was able to waive the costs. Read full story.
As Muskaan neared the age of 15, there was an eye camp which was set up in her school. All the girls were very excited to get their eyes tested. As Muskaan's turn came, the doctor saw that something wasn't right. He immediately called for her father and Muskaan got her first prescription glasses. This only gave her partial relief. She still wasn't very comfortable with her sight as there was partial blindness in one eye. She didn't want to trouble her parents, as the family of four still had difficulty in making ends meet. Muskaan lost all of her confidence and wondered why she had this great misfortune. When they learned about Seva's partner, Dr. Shroff's Charity Eye Hospital, it was truly like a miracle. Read full story.
Darlene, 4 years old, and Myriam, 2 years old, live with their family in Burundi. The sisters were born with cataracts in both eyes. The girls' mother and grandmother took turns caring for them while they went to work on the farm. "It was a distressing situation in the family. We didn't know how to take care of a blind child," their grandmother noted. One day, while at the market, a man approached Darlene and Myriam's mother. He had been trained by Seva's partner hospital to recognize signs that someone had vision problems. He told their mom about the eye hospital and that they might be able to help. Read full story.
At Visualiza, a long-time Seva partner, the hospital trains many teachers year after year, in order to treat and reach a large number of children throughout Guatemala. Carlos, an outreach manager at Visualiza, helps make this training possible. "Every time we train a teacher, we empower them with our vision of giving back the light to people who want to see," says Carlos. This transforms the lives of teachers as they become individuals of change for their communities, since they possess the necessary tools to be able to change the lives of their students and children in their community. Read full story.
Today, more than 90 million children and adolescents live with some form of visual impairment. Most of these kids live in areas of the world where even the most basic eye care services continue to be out of reach. Combatting child blindness is one of the most cost effective health interventions and kids who have their sight restored are given an average of 50 years of sight.
In less time than it takes to read this article, a child will lose their eyesight. One every minute. The child will likely be living in poverty, struggling for survival in one of the many parts of the world where access to even the most basic of eye care services continue to be out of reach.
"Just thinking about the kids out there that can't see, I just couldn't imagine not being able to see and I really hope that I can help change that for a lot of kids," says Nikolas.
Seva is excited to announce the launch of our new Buy a Frame, Help a Child to See program in partnership with the eyewear brand Bio Eyes. Through sales from this line of eco-friendly eyewear, Bio Eyes will support Seva's efforts to screen the eyes of 200,000 school children in India.
For nearly 20 years, Seva has been dedicated to building sustainable pediatric eye care programs in Cambodia - programs that provide sight-saving care to children in need throughout the country.
If you have the opportunity to travel to Nepal, a country where 33% of the population is under the age of 14, you will surely notice the smiling faces of children everywhere you go. You may also notice that very few of these children are wearing eyeglasses.
A nervous mother brought her nine-year-old daughter Wendy to a Seva-sponsored outreach screening camp, hoping the doctors could restore sight to her blind eye. Five years ago, Wendy had lost vision in her eye after accidentally being bumped in the head while playing with friends.
Your support of this innovative campaign made it possible for Seva to train 40 teachers in Cambodia who are screening the eyes of 29,000 students for visual impairment. These efforts are identifying children who need of glasses and sight-saving medical care, like sweet 7-year-old Bopha who is featured in this video.
This past February, a rural school in Cambodia experienced firsthand how the support and compassion of Seva donors, combined with a few dashes of serendipity, changed the lives of the students and teachers forever.
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