Growing up, do you remember what some of your biggest challenges were? Did any of them make you want to give up and walk away?
Now, try to imagine the challenge of growing up blind in one eye without access to professional eye care services.
This was young Simon’s experience. He suffered an injury as a child, causing him to go blind in his right eye.
Simon is a 10-year-old boy, who lives with his family in a village near the Maasai Mara in Kenya. Despite having just one eye, Simon has always been ambitious. From a young age, he would always tell his proud parents that his dream job was to become a tour guide like the ones that would drive by his home on their way to the Maasai Mara. Simon’s determination to go to school never faltered as he worked towards his goal!
But one day, the pride Simon’s parents had for him was eclipsed by fear. Suddenly, their son’s left eye developed an excruciatingly painful infection! At first, his eye reddened and started to water, and soon his eyelashes turned inward! With every blink, his lashes scraped painfully against his eyeball.
Unable to so much as open his remaining eye, Simon couldn’t keep up with his studies. Eventually, he was forced to drop out of school.
Simon was afraid for his future. Without the medical care he needed, his dream seemed unachievable.
“When I lost my right eye, I kept going. But when the other eye became infected I thought I would go blind! I thought my family would reject me like I was a cursed child!”
His parents tried every traditional medicine available to them, including a folk remedy where they put tobacco in his eye to cure it. But nothing worked.
Full of sorrow, all Simon could do was take care of his father’s livestock, and even that had to be done with close supervision.
“My dream was shattered. My parents couldn’t help me anymore.”
But then something incredible happened! Thanks to the support of generous people like you, James, one of Operation Eyesight’s community health workers, was able to come to Simon’s village. When James screened Simon, he immediately diagnosed the infection as the blinding disease trachoma.
James promptly referred Simon to our partner hospital in Narok for surgery – and his left eye was saved!
Thanks to the generous support of donors like you, this was all made possible at no cost to his family!
Simon has now returned to school, and his teacher is impressed with how well he’s doing! “He’s so eager to catch up with the rest of the class,” his teacher says, “that he sometimes forgets he only has one eye! I’m very happy with his progress.”
Since the surgery, Simon’s dream has changed. “Now that I’m back in school, I want to become a doctor so I can help my family like the doctors helped me. Thank you so much!”
Simon’s parents are overwhelmed with pride over their son’s strong character.
“Even though we gave up after trying everything we could think of, Simon didn’t give up. When the doctors said his left eye would improve after surgery, he didn’t hesitate to get treated. For someone who had already lost his right eye, that was very brave of him.”
Simon is so grateful to have his sight back in his left eye! And this was all made possible by donors like you. Just think, thanks to your support, one day Simon will be able to become a doctor and help more people like him!
There are many children like Simon with big dreams. For just $50, you can help someone like Simon make his or her dreams come true by making a donation today! Simon didn’t give up, and we certainly won’t either!