Celebrating Women’s Equality Day

In many of the communities we work in, women and girls come second to men and boys. That’s why our Hospital-Based Community Eye Health Model is designed to ensure that no one is left behind. 

For every blind boy there are two blind girls.

According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, an estimated 56 percent of blind adults are women.

Women face financial, social and even distance-related barriers to get the information and support they need.

Through our model, we work with our partner hospitals to provide equal care for everyone, regardless of gender, age, ethnicity or financial means. In the following stories of inspiring women we’ve met and worked with, you can see how people like you are ending the conditions that leave too many women needlessly blind or visually impaired.

Amita:

Amita lived the typical life of a young woman in Tokha Saraswati village in Nepal. Married at the age of 19, she kept busy taking care of her family. She had dreams of a rewarding career serving her community as a nurse, but her family couldn’t afford for her to go to school. The opportunity to become a community health worker gave Amita the fulfillment she always wanted. She is so happy that it allows her to help people in her community. She’s educated people to understand that superstitions do not affect health issues.

Also, she’s helped educate the people in her community to look after their own eye health. She has become a respected expert in the area where she lives.

“Now whenever people have problems with their eyes, they come to me for a solution,” she says proudly.

People like you provide training and fulfilling opportunities for women like Amita to make a huge difference in their communities! 

Nkanddela

This is the smile of someone who is happy! Her sight was restored through cataract surgery in August 2018.

This is the story 65-year-old Nkanddela of Sulwegonde village in Zambia. Over the course of the last four years, her sight slowly started to fade. At first, she had trouble seeing at night. Before long, even her day vision started to fail. When it got worse, she couldn’t walk alone without one of her grandchildren to guide her.

“Life became difficult for me,” she explains. “I just stayed home until my grandchildren returned from school around noon every week day. It has very hard for me to walk alone and later on do my household chores.”

Nkanddela was reached by a community health worker who told her there would be an outreach screening camp in her village. When she was told that she could have her eyes treated, Nkanddela steeled herself and walked alone for two kilometers to the outreach screening camp. There she was diagnosed and booked for sight-restoring eye surgery, which she received free of charge!

Now Nkanddela’s life has completely changed! She no longer has to depend on her grandchildren to guide her around. She can walk to her garden and grow some vegetables for herself.

She is so grateful to people like you for changing her life! Without our donors’ support, she wouldn’t have been able to afford surgery. Now she has regained her independence, and she can take care of herself. 

Shashi

Shashi lives in a small village in Delhi, India in a small semi-concrete house, which she shares with her mother and two brothers. Her eldest brother is running a small clothing shop, and what he makes from his work there he puts toward supporting the family. Unfortunately, Shashi’s family still faced a great deal of financial challenges.

Shashi wanted to do something to help her family financially. When she heard that Operation Eyesight was training community health workers to go door-to-door to bring eye care to the community, she knew right away that she wanted to be a part of it.

Many women in India are not encouraged to work outside of the home, so when Shashi found the job, her family wasn’t immediately supportive. It wasn’t until Shashi’s family received counselling on the importance of the work Shashi would be doing that they reconsidered. Not only would Shashi have an income she could use to contribute to her household, but she would be changing lives by referring people in her community for the eye care they needed. 

Finally Shashi’s family agreed that she could do the job.

Community health work is hard and involved. Not only do health workers perform initial screenings, they also follow up with patients after they’ve received treatment. Thanks to Shashi’s dedication, the people in her community have developed awareness about the importance of eye health as well as general healthcare.

Now people happily welcome her into their homes, trusting that she can help them.

While Shashi’s mother was initially hesitant to allow her to work, she is now so proud. “My daughter is working for a noble cause and helping people by referring them to be cured from avoidable blindness!” she says. “I couldn’t be happier. Thanks to Shashi, our family is financially supported, and we are respected by our community.”

People like you are helping women like Shashi make a lasting impact in their communities! Make a donation today to empower more women like Shashi.

Together, we can eliminate avoidable blindness – For All The World To See!

Joyce

Joyce is a trachoma case finder from Kenya who dedicates herself to eliminating trachoma in her community. She’s married with two children.

The Maasai community is very traditional, and men are typically the decision makers in the family. Luckily, Joyce’s husband understands the importance of her work, and he’s very supportive.

Joyce says the greatest challenge in her work is traveling long distances in search of trachoma patients. Many of the communities we serve are remote and difficult to access, but Joyce won’t let that get in her way.

“Despite the challenges, once I find a trachoma patient, I have the knowledge and training I need to educate them to seek surgery,” she says. “As a teacher by profession, the villagers know me very well and trust me. I am passionate about this work. Because I teach during the day, most of my trachoma case finding work happens during school holidays or in the evenings after school.”

Joyce also has political aspirations of being a spokesperson for the women in her community. “I want to fight for the rights of women,’’ she explains. “Eliminating trachoma in Narok county will not be easy, but if we stay focused, it is doable.”

Joyce is grateful for the training she received from Operation Eyesight, thanks to support from kind-hearted people like you. She has vowed to continue to use her training and knowledge to help her community.

You can empower more women like Joyce with a donation to our sight-saving programs today!

Harriet

Harriet has lots to do!

She’s trained in survey methodology, maternal and child health care, immunization, women’s empowerment and more, so she serves as an important resource for the community. That helps build trust, so she can make sure people get the care they need.

She has worked as a community health nurse for the past eight years, and she has been working as a community eye health worker for the past year. 

Harriet visits around 40 people a day to screen their eyes and refer them for treatment.

Thanks to the support of people like you, the people in Harriet’s community have access to the quality eye care they need. Thank you!

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