When our partners in Burundi first met grade 10 student Thierry, he seemed shy and too serious for his young age. He appeared to stare at the eye care team intently, but then cracked a smile and began making jokes. Deep down, he was a fun-loving teen, but he had developed a reserved demeanor at times - life had not been easy for Thierry over the past few years.
Thierry began suffering from cataracts in October last year. His cataracts didn't appear gradually; the cloudiness came rapidly, affecting his vision in both eyes. He kept going to school as long as he could, but when he could no longer see the blackboard or read his textbooks, he dropped out. He did his best to help at home with small chores, until he couldn't even manage those.
His mother took him to the general hospital where a doctor confirmed he had bilateral cataracts. Since this was a general hospital, there weren't any ophthalmologists to treat him and he was referred to a nearby Community Eye Centre (CEC). At the CEC, Thierry and his mother were told about the Seva-supported Child Tertiary Health Centre (CTSOE), the only Eye Hospital in Burundi providing surgery for children and youth, at no cost.
At the CTSOE, Thierry received sight-restoring surgery on his right eye, thanks to the generosity of Seva Canada donors. When the bandage came off the next day, he was so excited. He could see again! He couldn't wait to go back home and get back to high school. He wanted to learn and hang out with his friends.
Thierry was able to catch up and finish the school year along with his classmates, no doubt cracking a few jokes along the way. Soon, with the support of donors like you, Thierry will have the same life-changing surgery on his left eye.