Hawa is a timid four-year-old girl from a rural village in Burundi. Her parents own a modest plot of land where they farm maize to support their household.

Since birth, Hawa struggled with vision problems. She could not fully open her eyes and her parents noticed she was afraid of bright lights. One day, Hawa’s mother saw a white clouding in her eyes and took her to a Community Eye Centre in a nearby village where an ophthalmic assistant diagnosed her with bilateral congenital cataract. The ophthalmic assistant assured them that both cataracts could be removed with a sight-restoring surgery. Hawa and her parents were transported to the Seva-sponsored eye hospital in Bujumbura so she could receive the care she so desperately needed. 

Once at the hospital, Hawa’s mother voiced her concerns about the use of anesthesia and the risks involved with surgery. She was able to speak with a counsellor who explained the process step-by-step and how Hawa would be looked after throughout the operation and also provided with post-operative care. The counsellor eased her fears and she began to feel hopeful for her daughter’s future.

Hawa

Hawa wearing her new glasses

Thanks to the generosity of Seva Canada donors, Hawa received life-changing cataract surgery and a pair of prescription glasses free of charge. Her parents were overjoyed that their daughter’s sight was restored and immediately enrolled her in kindergarten. Her mother said “I am so happy she is attending kindergarten. Now that she can see, she plays with other children at home and at school. The eye care she received was such a relief for our family.”

Hawa and her mother

Hawa and her mother

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