New life in Tanzania, with the gift of sight

Asia Kiluwa (11) waits with a friend for her cataract surgery at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi, Tanzania.
Mark Housden, Marketing Manager at CBM UK.
Author:Mark Housden
Posted on: Thursday, 5th April, 2018

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to have the opportunity to travel to Tanzania to visit some of the projects CBM supporters are helping make possible – and to witness the gift of sight being restored and to see how this gave new life to people living in extreme poverty.

All of the people I met were truly unforgettable, from the community rehabilitation workers and surgeons who were deeply passionate about their work, to the people who, thanks to CBM supporters, were able to have their sight restored and their lives transformed.

The memory of three people in particular has remained with me: a six-month-old baby girl, a seven-year-old schoolchild and an 81-year-old grandmother. All three had cataracts. The condition had had a deep impact on their lives, and the lives of their families. But because they were very different stages of their lives, it had impacted on them in different ways.

The baby’s mother told me of her fears for her daughter’s future. For the young girl, sight problems meant she was unable to go to school and found it hard to play with friends. And we saw how the grandmother had to rely entirely on her granddaughter to take care of her, and heard how being unable to see left her unable to grow food on her small patch of land to support herself. Having a young daughter myself, I found myself thinking how fortunate we are in countries like the UK and how different life could be if she was affected by this type of condition.

As you may know, the clouding of the lens in the eye caused by cataracts has a huge impact on daily life wherever you live in the world. But in most cases sight can be restored and the cataract removed with a relatively straightforward operation. My own father underwent this procedure five years ago. In the UK, it’s a procedure offered on the NHS, but in a country such as Tanzania, where over 14 million people live in poverty, the cost of this operation is far beyond people’s means. However, thanks to generous CBM supporters, many people are getting access to free sight-restoring surgery.

Bless those who give renewed life

The people I met were not afraid about the delicate eye operation they were facing that week, but were excited and thankful for the new life they would have once their sight had been restored. They were truly grateful that they were going to be able to see again and for the opportunities this will give them to them and their loved ones. Opportunities to study at school, play with their friends, or to be free to farm and grow crops and no longer having to depend on grandchildren to guide them through every day chores, such as cooking. Through strong faith, they were grateful to God, but also deeply grateful to the ones who make it possible for them to see again: outreach workers, doctors, nurses and CBM supporters.

Kindness of strangers

Witnessing the amazing work that CBM is doing in countries such as Tanzania was an incredible experience. Whether you support CBM through prayer or donations, none of this life-changing work would be possible without your incredible acts of kindness. It was humbling to witness how the generosity of people in the UK and around the world transforms lives and gives renewed life to those who may otherwise have little opportunity or hope for future. I felt immensely privileged to witness the life-transforming work that you make possible, so this Easter I have been thinking not only of those people I met in Tanzania, but also of our wonderful family of supporters in the UK and worldwide, who enable this work to happen with your truly inspiring generosity.

Find out how you can give new life through sight-restoring surgery.

Images: Top – Asia Kiluwa (11) waits with a friend for her cataract surgery at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi, Tanzania.


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