A cataract is not only a barrier to sight. For a young girl, it is also a barrier to education, choice and opportunity.
Difficulty in accessing cataract surgery disproportionately affects girls. The costs of treatment can be beyond many families’ means and assumptions about girls working in the home can mean they’re not prioritised by families when it’s difficult to find the cost of treatment. Very few schools have the resources to support girls if their eyesight is failing, and a lack of female health professionals means that girls are less likely to be screened, so the chance of vital early diagnosis is missed.
Nine-year-old Khadijah sat in the sunshine outside her home in Sokoto, north-west Nigeria. She tried hard to focus on her homework. But her handwriting was shaky, even as her mother Shafa sat with her, helping guide her pencil across the page.
Had Shafa, a teacher, not been trained to screen children for eye conditions, she may not have realised that Khadijah couldn’t see with her left eye. Her cataract was already having a devastating impact on her education – and her potential future.
Khadijah and her mother travelled to a Sightavers-supported clinic for her surgery. It took less than an hour for her clouded lens to be removed and replaced with an artificial one. That one hour will affect the rest of her life. Khadijah’s sight was restored, unlocking a world of opportunity. Now she dreams of one day becoming a doctor.
You can help provide more girls like Khadijah with sight-saving cataract surgery, empowering them and giving them hope and opportunity for a brighter future. Without an education, fewer girls can hope to become doctors or health workers. Your gift today can help break this vicious cycle.
By the time a child reaches 10 years old, there’s a far greater risk that their sight won’t be saved with surgery. Our community projects aim to find and diagnose girls, even in the most remote communities, to treat their eye conditions before it’s too late.
You can help provide more of these incredible operations, to empower more girls and open up a lifetime of greater opportunity.