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Sightsavers stories

Celebrating parents

On Global Day of Parents on 1 June 2020, we’re celebrating the loving contribution mothers, fathers and carers make on a daily basis to Sightsavers projects in Africa and Asia.

A man and women sit smiling, with their daughter in between them.

These nine parents describe how as volunteers, supportive partners, carers, teachers, entrepreneurs, patients or as unrelenting advocates for their children, they have made an impact on the success of our projects – from eye health to inclusive education and practical skills training for people with disabilities.

A mother and father sit on the ground with their daughter standing behind them.

Zamurrad and Tariq

A mother and father sit on the ground with their daughter standing behind them.
Zamurrad’s life ground to a halt when she developed cataracts, so her husband Tariq took time off work to look after her and their daughter, Rania, at their home in Pakistan. After Zamurrad was able to have a cataract operation, she recalled: “When the bandage came off I saw a very beautiful face: Rania. She was so beautiful.” Tariq was pleased to see the change in his wife too. “Before, she was tense all the time,” he said. “Now she is happy, she is smiling.”

Read an update, one year on from the operation

Zamurrad's story

Materson

A father himself, Materson volunteers as a pre-school teacher in Malawi. He often collects and drops of children with disabilities like Theresa, so they can attend pre-school.

“I was concerned that a lot of children weren’t going to school. I wanted to give them that foundation, so when they go to primary school they’ll perform better. Now, we have 148 children, 20 with a disability. Now every kid in the village who is disabled is attending the pre-school and we’re hoping that they will graduate to other schools.

Read about our inclusive education work

A man gives a young girl a ride on the back of his bicycle.
Shamima communicating with her young daughter via facial expressinons and hand signals. She wears a bright pink sari against a green backdrop.

Shamima

Shamima communicating with her young daughter via facial expressinons and hand signals. She wears a bright pink sari against a green backdrop.
For 20-year-old mother Shamima, who has hearing and speech disabilities, communicating using an improvised form of sign language, facial expressions and reassuring touches with her daughter Toha has created a special bond. But after developing a cataract in one eye, she found it difficult to communicate with her family. Fortunately since having a successful operation, she can communicate with Toha again. “Shamima can look after the children and is more independent,” her sister Munina explains.

Find out more about Shamima’s family

Shamima’s story

Monica

Monica, who lives in Uganda with her children, used to find it difficult to communicate with her daughter Hellen who is deafblind. Through support, she is now able to use touch to help Hellen establish a routine and do tasks independently.

“To see her now, smiling as she joins in a game with her siblings, I see the difference. As a parent, to see your child happy, is as much as you can ask for.”

Read Hellen’s story

A man and women sit smiling, with their son in between them.

Mor and Aminata

A man and women sit smiling, with their son in between them.
Mor and Aminata realised their son Souleyman had problems with his sight so they spent several years consumed with trying to find help for him. But even once he had been diagnosed with cataracts there were barriers, “I didn’t have the money for that [cataract operation] so really I felt sorrow,” says Mor. Fortunately, through Sightsavers’ inclusive education project in Senegal, Souleyman was able to attend school and be referred for a cataract operation. “Now he can recognise the A, B, 1,2,3 when before he could not. As soon as I noticed that he was able to see I was really warm in my heart, I'm really happy,” says Mor.

Find out more about our work with schools

Inclusive primary school

Isaac and Joy

Isaac was 20 when he lost his sight. He had to stop going to school and his future was limited. Back in 2015, we first met him at one of our inclusive programmes in Uganda, where he learnt to knit. He said: “After getting a knitting machine, I will work. I can earn money, I can even get a partner, I can care for my family.”

Now, he introduces us to his family: “This is my lovable wife, the beautiful one you see, and this is the baby whom God has given us. When people look at us, they don’t believe it!”

A man and women sit smiling, with their daughter in between them.
Illustration of a playground.

Downloadable colouring pages

We’ve repurposed some illustrations, originally developed to support teacher training in pre-schools in Malawi, into colouring pages. Help your children to colour in the sheets and learn that all children, regardless of disability or gender, should be able to attend school.

Download the drawings here

More stories

Angeshita smiles broadly.
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“I’m a living testimony of cataract surgery”

When Angeshita regained her independence after her eye operation, so did her family. They are now able to return to school and work, giving them all hope for the future.

An eye health doctor wearing a smart white shirt and sunglasses.
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Alinafe cuts the queues

Learn about one man's mission to make a difference in Malawi by training as an eye health specialist.

Zahra has her eyes examined.
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Bringing eye health into the classroom

Zahra is one of the many children now thriving thanks to a Sightsavers programme to screen school students for eye conditions and health problems.

Learn about our work to save sight