Sightsavers Reports

Hibret can now hug her children without fear of them going blind

Hibret Dessu.

If you’re a parent, moments such as cuddling your children, or feeling their small hands gripping yours, are precious. But what if these loving actions were the reason you and your children were at risk of going blind?

This was the reality for Hibret Dessu, a mother of three from Ethiopia. In rural regions, such as Hibret’s village, clean water is hard to come by. This lack of water, coupled with a lack of knowledge around why hygiene is so important, means people are more at risk of contracting blinding diseases such as trachoma.

Hilbret is sitting on a wooden chair outside. A health worker is leaning over her head, examining her eyes. She has a child sitting on her lap.

Trachoma is easily spread in Ethiopia

Hibret is married to a farmer and spends much of her time at home taking care of her children, cooking and tending to livestock. Little did she know that this is where her sight was most at risk. An open fire and young ones with sticky fingers can be aggravating factors, and easy ways to spread this horrific infection.

Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness in the world and repeat infections can cause the eyelashes to grow inwards – painfully scraping and blistering the surface of the eye. It can be treated, but only if it is caught in time.

Women such as Hibret, who often stay at home with their young ones, are four times more likely than men to eventually need surgery from advanced trachoma. And what’s worse is that they can easily pass it to their children.

A painful, infectious disease

Recently, Hibret was devastated to discover that two of her three children had also contracted the disease. She was already in pain from having repeat infections and was terrified that her children would suffer as she had.

But with your help, we can reach vulnerable women like Hibret and provide them with the trachoma surgery needed to stop their pain and suffering – and, at the same time, distribute the sight-saving antibiotics to treat and protect their families against future re-infection.

A child is sitting on a wooden chair. A health worker is examining their eyes. Hibret and two other children are standing, watching in the background.

Sight-saving surgery

Luckily for Hibret, Sightsavers-trained health workers reached her village and she received the sight-saving surgery she urgently needed. Her two children were treated with antibiotics too – meaning Hibret can now hug her children without the fear of harming their sight or putting her own at risk.

Thanks to our supporters, Hibret and her children are safe from the threat of trachoma. Will you donate today to help stop more families from suffering?

Your donation can help people like Hibret

The back of Hibret walking through plants holding a child.

After receiving treatment, Hibret can now hug her children without the fear of harming their sight.

The back of Hibret walking through plants holding a child.

Give £5 to protect 14 people against trachoma


More stories

Asha plays in a tree outside her home with another child from her village.
Sightsavers Reports

Asha’s story

Asha was bullied by other children because of her cataracts. But a straightforward operation restored her sight, her confidence and her hope for the future.

Bakir Rashid, 2, smiles as he walks with his father on a family outing to the beach days after a successful bilateral cataract operation.
Sightsavers Reports

Bakir’s story

Two-year-old Bakir was born with cataracts in both eyes. He’s a happy, confident toddler who’s adored by his family, but they all worry about him.

Arjuna Socia, 33 years old, stands outside the Kibwoona Health centre in Masindi, Uganda where she attended the Volunteer Distributor Training for Community Directed Distributors. She is smiling and wearing a pink shirt.
Sightsavers Reports

Ajuna’s story

Ajuna Socia, aged 33, lives in the Bunyoro region in western Uganda, and has been volunteering as a drug distributor for the past five years.