Instead of being full of life, like a young child should be, all you could see when you looked at Bretty was his misery – it was etched deeply into his face.
We met Bretty in the remote Mbire district of Zimbabwe. Hotter weather and longer droughts are having a devastating impact on the region. With little access to safe water to drink, wash or even to grow crops, the dry, dusty conditions are catastrophic for families in remote villages – and they allow trachoma to thrive.
The conditions aggravated Bretty’s eyes, causing his confidence and spirit to fade. His eyes were constantly weeping and he was in so much pain he couldn’t concentrate in school. Bretty dreamt of becoming a pilot, but he couldn’t even watch the planes overhead – it was too painful to look up into the sky.
Fortunately, despite all of the challenges of reaching people in rural Zimbabwe, we were able to reach Bretty before the painful trachoma infection could develop into trichiasis, which can ultimately lead to blindness.
Sadly, there are many more children like Bretty who need our help.
Trachoma especially affects the most remote, hard-to-reach areas of Zimbabwe. Bretty’s village is at the end of a confusing maze of winding, dusty tracks and it is in these rural areas that senior programmes lead, Peter Bare, works tirelessly to reach those that need support. He said:
I know there are people in rural areas who need our help. They are in excruciating pain.
With resources more stretched than ever due to the extra challenges posed by COVID-19, we need your support to reach children like Bretty – and save them from lifelong blindness. Please will you help to free more children from trachoma?