How Penny Appeal Are Curing Preventable Blindness, One Mobile Eye Camp At A Time
Meet Jahanara Begum. She’s a wife to Mohammad Chand Ali, a mother of 8, and a beloved grandmother to many. Jahanara’s family have always struggled; she comes from one of the poorest areas in Bangladesh, and her husband tries to sell groceries door to door in the nearby villages. She used to take care of the household, but for 3 years she had been struggling to see properly. Household work had become a struggle, and the family just couldn’t afford to pay for Jahanara’s treatment. The world had become isolating for Jahanara; everything was hazy.
Around the world, 285 million people are visually impaired. According to the World Health Organization, 90% of these people live in the developing world and it is estimated that 80% of visual impairments can be prevented, or even cured. With the financial support of Penny Appeal UK, Poverty Eradication Program (PEP) arranged an Eye Camp on February 02, 2018 in Nikli Upazila, Kishoregonj district. Jahanara Begum was brought to the Eye Camp with the help of PEP staff. The doctors examined her eyes, and the next day, Jahanara had a successful cataract eye operation in Kishoregonj Eye Hospital. Jahanara can see clearly now, and it’s safe to say that she’s over the moon.
Millions of people around the world are living in the dark, yet simple eye checks, medicines or operations could restore their sight. On World Sight Day, it’s the perfect day to shine a light in the darkness. At Penny Appeal, we have organised ‘Open Your Eyes’ mobile eye camps, which travel around to some of the neediest communities around the world. Healthcare specialists at each campsite diagnose and treat the causes of avoidable sight loss. They provide medicines, glasses and even carry out simple operations, giving the miracle of sight to hundreds of children and adults.
As part of our Open Your Eyes program for eye care, we met 15 year old Fatou in The Gambia. She told us that her eye problems had begun about 3 years earlier, when she was in Grade 6, saying,
“I used to sit in the back of the class but seeing the chalkboard was difficult. My teachers noticed it so they asked me to move to the front. I also got a second hand glasses from one of my mother’s friends but that was not very good for me so soon after I stopped using it. I struggled but got by without glasses, if I had a pair it would be much easier for me in reading and doing my other school work.”
We fitted Fatou for glasses, and now she’s doing much better at school – she told us she’s feeling much more confident now, adding, “I want to thank you and your organisation Penny Appeal for these new glasses and promise to take care of them very well.”
We don’t want any more children to have their education cut short, like Fatou might have, when a simple pair of glasses could help them stay in school. No more elderly people should feel cut off from their family, like Jahanara did, when a simple procedure could cure their blindness.
For just £5 a month (that’s 16p a day), you can give the gift of sight, offering a world of opportunities to those who had been living in darkness.
Since 2014, Penny Appeal has been offering free eye exams, medical care and operations to disadvantaged children and adults in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Gambia and around the world with our eye care outreach program, Open Your Eyes.
Your small change this World Sight Day can help transform lives. Donate to Open Your Eyes and bring light to someone’s life here.