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Radio 4 listeners donate £38,500 to save children’s sight

Posted on: Friday, July 1st, 2016

Listeners to BBC Radio 4 have given an amazing £38,500 to prevent blindness and restore sight to children in Tanzania. CBM supporter and actress Dame Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey, the BFG) presented the appeal last week,

“The response to the appeal has been absolutely phenomenal – we’re so grateful to everyone who has given”, says Harriet Millward, Director of Fundraising and Communications at CBM UK.

“I’ve seen for myself how treatment like cataract surgery can transform the lives of children living in poverty in Tanzania. They can go to school again, with all the opportunities that brings, and get around safely. Their families are freed from constant worry that they will fall into the fire or have an accident. Thanks to this amazing response from Radio 4 listeners, we’ll be able to give many more girls and boys in Tanzania the chance of a better, happier future.”  

In the appeal, Penelope Wilton introduced two-year-old Abraham from Tanzania. Abraham was born with cataracts and was losing his sight. Without an operation to remove the cataracts, he would become permanently blind. And yet his mother, Zaina, struggling to grow food for them both and make a living selling oranges, couldn’t afford the bus fare to an eye clinic, let alone the cost of sight-saving surgery.

Zaina heard about a special outreach camp near her home, run by one of our local partners. Abraham was examined by an eye specialist and referred to hospital. During a 45 minute operation, Abraham’s cataracts were removed and replaced with artificial lenses – one of 7 children to receive the surgery that day.  Thanks to supporters like those who gave to the Radio 4 appeal, the surgery was free.

Zaina’s now has hopes for her son’s future again. She says:

 “I am so grateful. Yesterday I had a glimpse of an invoice of over 200 Tanzanian Shilling in my son’s file. I told the nurse that I would never be able to pay it. But she told me not to worry. This was waived with thanks to CBM. I was so happy.”

You can listen again to the appeal here (open link in new tab) or make a donation here (open link in new tab) to help restore sight to other children like Abraham.