Six-year-old Dorcas and her ten-year-old brother Meshack live in a small village in Kenya. When their father passed away, their uncle, Anthony, took them under his wings, vowing to provide for them as best he could, despite his own poverty.
However, that promise soon became difficult to keep. Both children were born with good vision, but as they each reached the age of five, their eyesight began to diminish.
“At first, I felt like a cloud in my eyes was covering my vision,” recalls Meshack. “The cloud seemed to grow darker every day and I didn’t know how to explain it to my uncle.” Even if Meshack could explain it, Anthony had no way of helping his nephew.
Over the years, Meshack’s vision worsened, and so did his performance in school. His teachers were puzzled. Why was the boy who was always top of his class now performing so badly in school?
Desperate to see things more clearly, Meshack resorted to squinting his eyes. The only time he was able to interact with his friends was when they were leading him by the hand to and from school. He became a shy, withdrawn child.
Sadly, Meshack’s little sister Dorcas started experiencing the same vision problems. She, too, had to be guided everywhere, and she was unable to learn to read or write.
Rumours spread throughout the village that a spell had been cast on the family. Anthony was terrified. “I started wondering if what was happening was an indication that my dead brother didn’t want me to be with his children,” he says.
Just when he had resolved to take the children to a traditional healer, a volunteer community health worker paid a visit to their home. She told them about a nearby eye camp being organized by Kitale District Hospital, one of Operation Eyesight’s partners.
The children were examined by a nurse at the eye camp. She referred them to Kitale Eye Unit where a comprehensive eye exam revealed both children were suffering from cataract. Imagine: these two children had lost their ability to see, all because of a totally preventable disease!
Fortunately, thanks to our wonderful donors, Meshack and Dorcas both received sight-restoring cataract surgeries, all at no cost to their uncle.
On their way home from the hospital, Anthony witnessed something he’d never seen before: Meshack was reading the signposts on the roadside (without squinting!), and Dorcas had a big smile on her face!
Anthony was thrilled. His nephew and niece could see again!
At school, the teachers were impressed when Meshack noticed the coloured writing on the chalkboard. And they were amazed to see Dorcas running around with the other children, touching everything around the classroom, like a toddler seeing things for the first time.
Because of the generosity of our donors, Meshack and Dorcas now have more promising futures ahead of them!
“A bright future is dependent on a person’s health,” says Anthony. “If these children hadn’t received treatment, they probably would have become blind. They wouldn’t have had a future. They would have remained dependent on others for the rest of their lives. Thank you!”
You can help more children like Dorcas and Meshack. By giving the gift of cataract surgery, you’ll give others their independence, hope and happiness back. Please consider making a donation today.
Did you know? You can give the gift of sight in the name of a friend of family member. It’s the perfect gift for everyone on your Christmas list. View our Gift Guide to see a variety of gift options. Thank you for your support!