What started out as a trachoma infection, developed into more serious trichiasis when Zuwaira was in her 20s. Her eyelids turned inwards, her lashes scratched at her eyes and there was no escape from the “itchy, painful and teary” feeling.
For 27 years, this resilient mother and businesswoman had found ways to cope with her increasingly excruciating trichiasis. “I do my work at night,” she told us. “At night, I can see clearly but during the daytime, it always seems like there’s a big hole in front of me.”
Zuwaira never let trichiasis take over her life. She worked making and selling groundnut cakes until her deteriorating sight forced her to stop.
“There were things I could do before that I couldn’t do – it really hurt me and I felt livid and frustrated.”
Relying on others didn’t come easy to Zuwaira. She told us: “Any time I had to do work, like fetching water, I thought deeply about how to do it.” When she needed to walk somewhere, Zuwaira had no choice but to ask the women in her community for help. But what she urgently needed was treatment. Without Sightsavers’ and our partners’ help, Zuwaira was at risk of going blind.
Today, you could help reach more people like Zuwaira in remote communities, before it’s too late to save their sight.
For decades Zuwaira couldn’t get the help she needed. Until one day Surayya, a local case finder, visited Zuwaira’s community in Nigeria.
Surayya had just been trained by Sightsavers’ local partners to screen for trichiasis in her community. Surayya and other case finders are taught safety procedures such as no-touch eye examinations – and have been given equipment to protect themselves and others during their vital, sight-saving work.
For one last time, Zuwaira needed help to walk somewhere – this time it was to the clinic for her eyelid surgery.
And after the operation, Zuwaira couldn’t believe the change in her vision. “Before I couldn’t raise my eyes. Now I can see that door and all the other doors around.”
We know that trichiasis erodes independence, and takes away people’s ability to work and support their family.
With your kind support today, more people like Zuwaira could get their sight back – and all the good things that come with it. Will you give a gift to Sightsavers today?
Where do donations go?
91% of donations, including donated supplies, go to our vital charity work, and 9% help us grow our awareness and funding.