Simon is a 67-year-old man who lives with his wife, children and grandchildren in a small village in Trans Nzoia County, Kenya. He has lived there all his life and has a mud-walled house with rusty iron sheet roofing.
Simon, and his wife, Gladys, have nine children, ranging from 41 to 15 years old. While Gladys takes care of the home, Simon has eked out a living as a tailor. He does a little farming on the side and has one cow to help provide for his family.
Simon’s tailoring business does well, as his clients are usually families that need school uniforms for their children, and Christmas is always a busy time when people want new clothes for the holidays.
But two years ago, Simon’s vision started to fade, and he had no idea why!
Eventually, he could no longer do his tailoring job, and while at home, he couldn’t see to farm or care for his cow.
“I missed sitting down with my children to help them with their homework. And now I can’t even tell which of my children is sitting next to me,” he said, with deep sadness.
Being the sole breadwinner, Simon’s blindness robbed his family of their livelihood and drove them deeper into poverty.
“I became so dependent I even needed guiding to the latrine. I felt so sad. I thought, how can it be that I’ve gone blind, yet I’m still strong and healthy? I worried I would one day fall in the pit of the latrine, or drown in the nearby river while trying to get by on my own.”
Simon has a strong relationship with his family, and he’s become the peacekeeper for his loved ones.
“I usually act as a peacekeeper for my family when they disagree. I worried that they would be divided if I died and left them on their own.”
Without his sight, Simon had no hope for his future, and he feared for the well-being of his family. What could he do?
“I thought the future was bleak and without any flavour. How was I to live in darkness, having spent my entire life with good vision, doing my work and going wherever I pleased?”
One day, Simon’s son-in-law met a community health worker named Bernard. Bernard was a former patient who received sight-restoring cataract surgery, and ever since, he has been inspired to help others in his community who suffer from avoidable blindness! Through his commitment, many people have already been helped.
Simon’s son-in-law told Bernard about Simon’s condition. Soon, the two men set out one morning to Simon’s home where Bernard identified Simon’s problem to be cataracts. Simon could barely believe his ears when Bernard told him that he could be treated free of cost at our partner hospital, the Kitale Eye Unit!
“All previous herbal remedies I tried failed, so I was a little anxious at first that nothing would restore my vision. But I started becoming confident about the treatment when Bernard encouraged me with his own story of regaining his sight after the same treatment.”
And then Simon’s life was changed! He received cataract surgery on both eyes at Kitale Eye Unit – free of charge to him or his family, thanks to the incredible support of people like you!
Now Simon is extremely happy, and he’s picked up right where he left off.
“I’m excited! I want to get back to work because there will be a lot of business to catch up with. I will be able to provide for my family again and my child who’s been taking care of me can go back to school.”
Simon has gone back to his tailoring business and has a very positive outlook about the future.
“I can continue to help my family and my neighbours by acting as the peacekeeper, and I can provide for my grandchildren again! I pray that God bless the people in Canada who helped me with long lives so they can help more people like me. My life has changed forever, and my family and I are forever grateful!”
Can you believe it? Your support changed not only Simon’s life, but his family’s lives! That’s incredible, and we hope you know just how much your support means to the people you help. There are others like Simon who are needlessly living in darkness, and you can help them! Please consider donating to our cataract surgery program to give the Gift of Sight to more people in need!