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Listen in and change a life

In June, BBC Radio 4 listeners heard Zuwaira's incredible story. Thank you for helping us reach more people in pain, suffering from the eye disease trachoma.

Zuwaira smiling at the camera after her successful trichiasis surgery.

£60 could pay for antibiotics for an entire village

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When was the broadcast?

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Date

Sunday 27 June

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Time

7:54am and 9:25pm

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Station

BBC Radio 4

On 27 June 2021, actress Sunetra Sarker talked about Sightsavers’ work during the BBC Radio 4 appeal.

We are so grateful for the opportunity to have told so many people about our work. Sunetra spoke about the painful eye disease trachoma which affects thousands of people like Zuwaira, pictured above, despite medicine being readily available.

Although the appeal is over, you can still donate to Sightsavers. It takes less than three minutes to make a one-time donation or set up a monthly gift, and your kindness will help us reach more people like Zuwaira and change their lives forever.

If you’d like to listen back to the appeal, please visit the Radio 4 website.

BBC Radio 4 Appeal logo

Click below to hear Sunetra explain why she’s a Sightsavers ambassador:

Sightsavers · Sunetra Sarker on supporting Sightsavers
Actress Sunetra Sarker smiling in front of a leafy green wall.

About Sunetra

Sunetra Sarker is a British actress who has starred in TV series including Casualty, Ackley Bridge and The Bay. Sunetra became a Sightsavers ambassador in 2009, when she wore a blindfold for a day to highlight the plight of blind women around the world.

In February 2020, Sunetra visited a pop-up eye testing station in India that provided truck drivers with free prescription glasses.

Read about her trip

What is trachoma?

Trachoma is the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness. It starts off as a bacterial infection that makes the eyes sore and weepy, a bit like conjunctivitis. At this stage, trachoma is easy to treat with antibiotics. But if it’s not treated, over time trachoma scars the eyelid and pulls the lashes inwards, so they scratch the cornea with every blink. This advanced form of trachoma can be agony. Many sufferers pull out their eyelashes with tweezers for temporary relief from the pain.

Without surgery, advanced trachoma can ultimately lead to blindness.

Zuwaira awaiting surgery in Nigeria.
Advanced trachoma had made Zuwaira's eyes very painful, and could have led to blindness.

Help end the agony of trachoma

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Zuwaira's story

Zuwaira, a mother of six from Nigeria, suffered the agony of trachoma for 27 years. Her eyes were itchy and swollen. The pain made it so hard to go out in sunlight that Zuwaira had to give up her baking business and do her chores at night.

A Sightsavers volunteer performing door-to-door health checks diagnosed Zuwaira with trichiasis, the most severe form of trachoma that could have led to blindness. Our team arranged for Zuwaira to meet an eye surgeon and undergo an operation to stop the agony and save her sight.

Zuwaira’s is one of the many lives transformed by work to stop this terrible disease. You can play a part in history and help eliminate trachoma – your donation to Sightsavers can help us distribute medicine to the communities most at risk.

You can find out more about Zuwaira in our Summer appeal.

Zuwaira, a woman dressed in a yellow medical covering, having her eyes examined by an eye surgeon wearing PPE and green scrubs.
Zuwaira being examined before her operation by surgeon Dr Karofi.
137 million
people are at risk of going blind from trachoma
1.9 million
people are blind or visually impaired because of the disease
6.3 million
people live in parts of Nigeria most at risk of trachoma

 

Statistics: World Health Organization (Stats 1 and 2Stat 3)
Photographs of Zuwaira: © Sightsavers/Cliqq Productions

 

You can help change lives

I would like to make a donation:

a month could provide enough antibiotics to protect 400 people against contracting trachoma.

a month could pay for ointments for 268 people suffering from an active trachoma infection.

a month could fund life-changing surgery for five patients with advanced trachoma.

$
We're sorry, but the minimum donation we can take is $3
We're sorry, but we cannot process a donation of this size online. Please contact us on [email protected] for assistance donating over $15,000

could provide enough antibiotics to protect 200 people against contracting trachoma.

could pay for ointments for 134 people suffering from an active trachoma infection.

could fund life-changing surgery for two patients with advanced trachoma.

$
We're sorry, but the minimum donation we can take is $3
We're sorry, but we cannot process a donation of this size online. Please contact us on [email protected] for assistance donating over $15,000