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Sightsavers Reports

Cataract surgery has given Bakir a brighter future

January 2017
Two-year-old Bakir smiles as he plays with his father.

Two-year-old Bakir was born with cataracts in both his eyes, which affect his vision.

He’s a happy and confident little toddler, not yet burdened by his lack of sight, and unaware of his limitations. He is adored by everyone in his family – he loves being near his mother and is always finding  creative ways to snuggle up against her. His older sister Barke says he is her “favourite person in the world”, and he squeals with delight when his father dangles him in the air by his arms. But they all worry about his future.

Bakir’s parents, 27-year-old Hadija and 30-year-old Suleman, first noticed a problem with Bakir’s sight a year ago, but they didn’t know what it was. They told us that even though Bakir wasn’t fully aware of his sight impairment, it became obvious because he often stumbled and bumped into things.

His sister Barke is in school, but helps out with Bakir as much as she can – holding his hand to walk around and pushing him on the bike.

A cataract diagnosis leads to hope for Bakir

Luckily for little Bakir, Sightsavers – in partnership with the Ministry of Health in Zanzibar – is running a project across Tanzania to help raise awareness of eye health in rural areas. This led to Bakir being diagnosed and scheduled to have the surgery he desperately needed to restore his sight.

Despite the good news, Bakir’s mother was still worried about the operation. Living in the rural town of Kibweni, in Tanzania, the family hadn’t come across cataracts before, let alone anyone who had undergone surgery. But when Dr Rajab from the eye health team visited the family, he was able to answer all of Hadija’s questions and put her mind at ease.

A few days later Bakir’s operation was complete and it was time for his bandages to be removed. His small frame squirmed in protest as Dr Rajab gently peeled back the dressings from his swollen eyes, but he soon calmed. Dr Rajab confirmed all was well and said that after a few days of recovery, Bakir could go home.

Bakir enjoys playing with his family

We were lucky enough to revisit Bakir and his family after his allocated recovery time, joining them on a trip to Fumba beach. At high tide, Suleman carried his son into the water to play, making sure to protect Bakir’s eyes and avoid submerging him. Bakir, still wearing his jeans, splashed his little legs in the water. His eyes were wider than before the operation, and the whole family seemed more at peace.

Hadija revealed that she had already noticed a difference in Bakir’s sight. “When he reaches for things, he grabs them first time instead of grappling around,” she said.

It’s donations from people like you that allow these projects to continue. A £50 operation changed Bakir’s life, but there are still so many thousands more in need of help.

Will you donate today to help restore the sight of more children like Bakir?

Bakir Rashid, 2, smiles during a family outing to the beach after a successful bilateral cataract operation supported by Sightsavers. He is being held on top of the water by his dad and is splashing his feet in the sea. He is smiling and looking at his feet in the water.

“When he reaches for things, he grabs them first time instead of grappling around.”

Bakir Rashid, 2, smiles during a family outing to the beach after a successful bilateral cataract operation supported by Sightsavers. He is being held on top of the water by his dad and is splashing his feet in the sea. He is smiling and looking at his feet in the water.

Donate to help children like Bakir

Single donation

could screen a family of five for a range of eye conditions.

could buy 10 tumbling E charts for testing people’s sight.

could pay for cataract surgery to restore a child’s sight.

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We're sorry, but the minimum donation we can take is £3.50 $3
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