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Archana was losing her childhood

Without treatment for cataracts, Archana could have lost her education too. On World Health Day, will you help us ensure more children can enjoy a future free from blindness?

Archana stands in front of a brick wall, looking just off camera into the distance.

Free more girls from a lifetime of blindness

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We met nine-year-old Archana in Odisha, India, before the pandemic. She was an incredibly bright girl, who told us how much she loved reading and playing with other children.

But Archana had cataracts in both her eyes, and the impact of her sight loss was devastating. It hurt to open her eyes in bright light, and it broke our hearts to see her holding her beloved books inches from her face, so she could read the words on each page. It was a huge strain to complete her schoolwork.

Cataracts were pushing Archana towards lifelong blindness, and her dreams for the future were slipping away.

Without Sightsavers’ and our partners’ help, Archana was at risk of losing her education, and faced a lifetime of stigma and discrimination.

Watch the video to see how Sightsavers helped Archana.

Archana sits with her grandmother. Grandmother has her arm around Archana.

“It's very lonely for Archana. The children are calling her names like ‘squint’.”

Archana is watching as she struggles to actively join in with her friends playing.

Archana could have missed out on the treatment she urgently needed, simply because she’s a girl. Cataracts are far more common in women and girls in Odisha. Boys are often prioritised for treatment as they are more likely to work for income, leaving girls like Archana to slowly lose their sight.

Through our school eye-health screenings we can help girls to access sight-saving treatment and empower them to get an education and escape the cycle of poverty.

Archana’s worsening sight was having devastating effects on her happiness. Before her treatment, she couldn’t dance or play with other children, and she was spending every day on her own.

Seeing Archana get her sight back was like seeing something suppressed inside of her finally come out. Suddenly she was the clever, playful and confident young girl she was destined to be.

Sadly, there are many girls suffering from cataracts – and with COVID-19 restrictions meaning we can perform fewer operations each day, this number will only grow. It is vital we reach them and are able to give them the life-changing treatment they need.

At Sightsavers, we fight to ensure no one is left behind. Where we can’t save someone’s sight, we help to train teachers, support parents, and provide the equipment children need to reach their full potential, and live a happier life.

But we can only do this with your support. Please, will you give a gift to help more children suffering with cataracts?

Can you help girls like Archana this World Health Day?

Make a donation

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