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Actress Trudie Goodwin on why she’s passionate about supporting people with disabilities

Posted on: Thursday, September 24th, 2015

“Actress Trudie Goodwin has supported CBM for several years; in 2004 she travelled to Nigeria to see our work for herself. Best known for 13 years playing Sergeant June Ackland in TV police drama The Bill and more recently as Georgia Sharma in ITV soap Emmerdale, Trudie is currently starring in Arthur Miller’s play All our Sons in Edinburgh.

Trudie spoke to CBM recently about her life-changing visit to Nigeria, her own experience of hearing loss and why she is still passionate about supporting people with disabilities in the poorest places of the world.

“Back in 2004 I was privileged enough to be asked to go to the ECWA eye hospital in Kano, Nigeria to make a short film about the work they were doing there. It turned out to be one of the most extraordinary and moving experiences of my life. The joy of seeing scores of men, women and children blinded by cataracts having their sight restored is something I will never forget.”

“One sixty year old woman in particular had become unable to provide food or fetch water for herself because she was totally blind. Her village was poor and they were struggling to provide help for her. When we first saw her she was undernourished and dehydrated, and without the cataract operation she would almost certainly have died. A few days after her stay at the eye hospital she was back in her village planting seeds, fetching her own water and cooking, her life literally transformed because of CBM UK. Needless to say it was an intensely emotional week!”

Trudie meets Dije (60yrs) who lives in the village of Taura. Dije has been blind for four years due to cataract.

“CBM UK works with people with all kinds of disabilities, and not just physical ones. Mental health is a serious problem all over the world but in many countries it is not recognised, not understood, and certainly not treated. CBM UK is helping in this area too. Disabled people face challenges even here in one of the wealthiest countries of the world, but in developing countries disability can be literally life-threatening: disabled people suffer hostility and ignorance about their condition, miss out on healthcare and education, and face impossible barriers to earning a living, often putting an unbearable strain on individuals and their families. Of the one billion people with disabilities, a staggering 80% are in developing countries. That’s why CBM UK’s work in the poorest places of the world is so vital.”

“When I was a child I suffered hearing loss, and as I’ve grown older it has become quite a lot worse. Thanks to tiny hearing aids provided by the NHS, my fairly minor disability certainly doesn’t prevent me from going about my daily life and pursuing my acting career – but without help I know that this would be extremely difficult, even here in the UK.”

“Seeing the way that CBM UK is working to improve the lives of people with disabilities in circumstances far, far more difficult than mine, regardless of faith, all over the developing world has meant I have remained a supporter over the years. CBM UK’s ongoing work and their exciting ideas for new projects, means that they will continue to empower people with disabilities and provide a future for them. I want to be involved in that future and I really hope you will too.”

Trudie Goodwin visits Nigeria (YouTube) (open link in new tab)