For many of us, the mothers in our lives have been incredible people. They’ve shaped our development with their love and care. A mother’s love is a beautiful thing, and it’s even more awe-inspiring when her love endures despite life-altering hardship.
This Mother’s Day, I wanted to share a few stories about some loving mothers. Despite blindness, poverty and other hardships, they faced and overcame immense difficulty for the sake of their families!
This is Melua. She lives in a tiny village in the Maasai Mara in Kenya.
When her eyesight started to deteriorate due to the blinding disease trachoma, Melua was terrified – not only for herself, but for her four young children. Trachoma is a bacterial infection, and when left untreated, the eyelid turns inward, causing the eyelashes to painfully rub against the eyeball. Over time, the disease will eventually cause irreversible blindness.
Suffering with every blink of her eye, Melua’s life was only going to become more challenging.
Since Melua was the youngest in a large extended family, she was expected to work hard milking cows, herding goats, cooking and looking after her children. However, when the pain from the disease was too much to bear, Melua couldn’t keep up with her chores. The other women in her family believed Melua was making excuses to justify laziness. Eventually, they started to pressure Melua’s husband into divorcing her.
Melua was in despair. “What would happen to my children if I became blind and my husband divorced me? They’re so young. They need attention, which they wouldn’t get if I wasn’t there.”
Imagine the hopelessness she must have felt when she had no one to turn to!
But then Melua’s life changed! Thanks to the generous support of people like you, Operation Eyesight’s community health workers came to her village. When they reached Melua’s home and saw her condition, they immediately diagnosed her with trachoma in both eyes. She was referred to one of our partner hospitals to receive eyesight-saving surgery!
Melua can now see… and she can continue caring for her children and contributing to her family!
My next story isn’t just about an incredible mother, but a grandmother whose greatest desire was to be able to see her grandchildren after years of living in darkness.
By the time her youngest grandchildren were born, Jerita had already gone blind in both her eyes due to cataracts. She loved her family dearly, and she was heartbroken to think that she would never see the little ones’ faces.
But fate had other plans. Jerita’s life turned around when her eyesight was restored by cataract surgery at our partner hospital. The smile she wore on her face when she got to see her grandchildren for the first time in years is priceless!
See Jerita’s journey out of darkness for yourself here.
I also heard a wonderful story about a young mother in Ghana, Ruth, who had a little girl named Judith. When Judith was just a year old, Ruth noticed white spots forming in her baby’s eyes.
Desperate to help her daughter, Ruth sought help from her closest hospital, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH). But sadly her health insurance wasn’t enough to cover the total cost of the surgery. Although Ruth worked two jobs, she could barely make ends meet! Frustrated and disheartened, Ruth took her baby home.
For two more years Judith lived in darkness, unable to play with friends, start preschool or see her mother’s face. Ruth would have done anything to help her little one see!
Fortunately, thanks to Operation Eyesight’s strong partnerships in Ghana, we were able to make arrangements with the ophthalmology department at KATH. Thanks to generous donors like you, Judith received cataract surgery totally free of charge to her mother!
Learn more about Ruth and Judith’s story here.
You can help more incredible mothers today!
There are so many other caring mothers in the world — mothers and their children who desperately need eye care services in their communities. Especially this month, I hope you’ll think about them, and how critical eye health is to them.
Please give these mothers and their children the gift of sight today, and help make their world a better place. Mom would be proud!
May is the month to celebrate mothers! Whether your mom is still with you or not, please consider giving a special gift or send a beautiful Mother’s Day eCard in celebration of her. Your generosity would really help women like these, half a world away! And Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there!