Ruth’s story

Categories: Blog, Eye Surgery, Kenya
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Twelve-year-old Ruth has had more than her fair share of vision problems for her tender age. She started having problems with her eyes when she was just five years old, and her vision deteriorated progressively. Every time her family thought it couldn’t get worse, it did.

By the time Ruth was screened at our partner Kapsabet Eye Unit, she could neither read nor write. Her teacher tried all she could to help her student learn. “I moved her to the front of the class, but even then she could not read from the chalkboard,” she explains with despair. “This condition has stunted her learning so much. While other children her age are in class 7, Ruth is only in class 3 and has repeated classes over the years.”

Ruth’s mother felt helpless. She didn’t have the money to pay hospital fees for Ruth to have her eyes treated. “As a parent, I was saddened every time I was told my child was a slow learner,” she says. “They said that she was unteachable.”

For Ruth, coping with her situation was no less difficult. “I felt really bad because I had to repeat classes and still couldn’t read and write,” she recalls. “My classmates always laughed at me because of it.” Despite her hard work, Ruth continued to struggle.

Ruth, her parents and her five siblings live in an old two-roomed home in a small village in Nandi County, Kenya. Her mother, a housewife, and two of her siblings suffer from eye problems as well. Her father is a casual labourer on a tea plantation. With the family’s meager income going to feed, clothe and educate the children, they couldn’t afford the surgery necessary to restore Ruth’s eyesight. What would become of her?

Fortunately, Operation Eyesight’s partner, Kapsabet Eye Unit, held an eye camp in Ruth’s village. Ruth’s mother promptly took Ruth to the eye camp, having been informed by a community health worker of the services being offered.

Carolyn, an ophthalmic nurse whose training was also supported by our generous donors, screened Ruth and diagnosed her with cataracts in both eyes. What would have been impossible became possible – thanks to donors like you. Not only did your generosity allow Kapsabet Eye Unit to hold the eye camp in the first place, your donations made it possible for Ruth to receive cataract surgeries – all free of charge to her family!

Ruth’s sight has been restored! Not only can she see again, but she has gone back to school with renewed determination to move forward. “I feel good and happy!” Ruth says. “If you had not helped me, I would have surely dropped out of school. Now I really want to finish school so I can help my parents in the future.”

Ruth is extremely grateful, and she asked that we pass this message on to you:

“I’d like to thank all of you for the wonderful help and care that you’ve given me,” she says. “Tell the good people in Canada that I’m very happy and grateful they thought about me.”

You can help more children like Ruth by giving the gift of sight. Please donate to our cataract surgery program today! Thank you for your support.