Sight for Swaziland: The Next Chapter
Thanks to you, we’ve built a strong foundation of eye care in Swaziland. Now it’s time to reach the most remote regions of the country and find more people like Lindiwe.
Swaziland is a small landlocked country in southern Africa. It’s mountainous, and it’s very hard to reach some of the rural communities and homesteads.
Swaziland also has the highest prevalence of HIV in the world, with more than 27% of the adult population living with HIV. It’s had a devastating impact on Swaziland. An entire generation has been wiped out, leaving tens of thousands of children orphaned and in the care of their grandparents.
Not only are those grandparents are living with decreased sight, and often blindness, but the fact that many live in very remote regions means that both they and the children in their care are going without the eye treatments they need to thrive.
It’s time that we reach the unreachable.
How do we reach unreachable areas? Not with our traditional vehicle that travels from homestead to homestead through the mountains. After all, roads are few and far between.
Instead, we’ll pilot a program where helicopters will be sent out to reach the most remote communities in Swaziland. The flights will carry the specialists to do eye screening. Flying them into remote areas means that their time will be used much more effectively and efficiently.
But it also means that we’ll reach more people who need care at the clinic.
Will you help us find more grandparents, mothers, fathers and children in the hardest to reach places?
Lindiwe lives in a remote area of Swaziland. She was just four year’s old when she was horribly burned. She suffered terrible damage to her nose, mouth and eyes. Over the years, her facial deformities have become even worse: the scar tissue prevented her from closing her eyes, and without the moisture of her natural tears, she began to rapidly lose her sight.
Her appearance might shock or offend you. But I urge you to be shocked for the right reasons. Don’t be shocked by her appearance. Be offended that she hadn’t received the care that she needs.
Caution: These photos will break your heart, but Lindiwe has given us permission to share them with you. Click to reveal.
Lindiwe before surgery
Lindiwe after 3rd surgery
Lindiwe after 4 surgeries
Lindiwe came to the attention of Good Shepherd’s Hospital because a good Samaritan working near where she lives met her and found it in her heart to bring her to us. As soon as we saw her, she grabbed hold of a special place in our hearts and we knew that something needed to be done, and it needed to be done quickly.
After four surgeries, Lindiwe is smiling, despite needing more time to fully heal.
In 2014, cbm launched a three-year program in partnership with Dr. Pons at the Good Shepherd Eye Clinic and The Luke Commission to create a national eye care program, Sight for Swaziland.
Our goal? Raise $3 million over three years to restore the sight of 5,000 Swazis and treat thousands more.
What was accomplished? Generous donors gave $3.2 million in two years and as a result, 4,412 eyes surgeries were performed, close to 10,000 people received eye health screening and 37,929 pairs of glasses were given to school children and their caregivers.
We’re thrilled with the results but our work isn’t done.
There’s a backlog of cataract surgeries and so many more people to reach in the remote mountains.