Will you help give the gift of sight to a child like Blessing today?

At first glance, you wouldn’t know that there’s been anything wrong with 8-year-old Blessing from Uganda, East Africa. But if you look carefully you may see he has cataracts in both his eyes.

Living in fear and darkness

Victoria, his 60-year-old grandmother says, “What will happen to him later? I’m so worried about him. His father is dead; his mother has disappeared. I won’t live forever and will not always be able to look after him.”

Victoria has been diagnosed with cancer. Without his grandmother and medical help, Blessing’s future is bleak. Not just because he won’t have Victoria, but because he won't be able to see.

Blessing’s cataracts developed in early childhood; his world became entirely grey, as he struggled to see more than a few centimetres in front of his face.

“… Blessing can hardly help me with anything,” Grandmother Victoria relates. “To fetch water from the lake – for doing the laundry or washing the dishes – I only send him with someone else who can watch out for him. And even that hardly ever happens. I’m far too worried that something might happen to him”

Victoria cares deeply for Blessing.  Despite doing everything she could for him, there is simply no way that Victoria could afford to get Blessing the help he needed.

And as well as caring for Blessing, Victoria also looks after two of his cousins. The family has no running water; they share one tap with the whole village, or collect it in jerry cans from the lake. They have no electricity, and can only afford paraffin for cooking very occasionally.

The journey to an eye clinic in the city costs far more than Victoria could afford, let alone the cost of treatment.

Children will become blind needlessly

A cataract operation for a child costs just £95. For an adult, it’s just £24; a small price to pay for someone’s sight.

Blessing before intervention with his grandmother Victoria (60 years old) at their home
Please refer to related RCS Field Reports for further information
Blessing is a CBM Representative Child. He was born with bilateral cataract. Today he is 5 years old (born in June 2008) and lives with his grandmother in a village 40 kilometres south of Uganda‘s capital Kampala. His mother has abandoned him. Blessing’s father died. Blessing was identified by CBR field workers of CBM partner CoRSU Hospital. Soon he will get cataract surgery at the Eye Department of Mengo Hospital in Kampala (also a CBM partner).

Without the help of CBM, the future looks very frightening for a child like Blessing.

“If he stays like this there is no good future for Blessing. He cannot do anything independently. I fear he will be completely blind one day. He will be depending on us. We have to take care of him lifelong... I wish our Blessing could see like all other children, I wish he could properly learn at school and be independent one day…” says Victoria.

Last year, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we were able to fund 461,000 cataract operations around the world, literally enabling people to move from a world of darkness to a world of light.

That’s almost half a million people who can now see; who could have been trapped in blindness forever if not for the help of people like you.

But there are so many more children like Blessing, who are waiting for our help.  In fact, 1.4 million children are living with blindness around the world, many needlessly.

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