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.
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.