Three-year-old Yvette, who lives in northern Burundi, struggled to see. Her mother worried about her daughter’s happiness and future opportunities. Burundi, a low-income country in East Africa, has only 16 ophthalmologists to treat a population of almost 12 million people.

Yvette’s mother finally found a doctor to examine her daughter’s eyes and was relieved when told it was just allergies. The respite was short-lived. The medicine provided didn’t help Yvette’s vision. Using the little money the family had earned from farming, Yvette’s mother took her daughter to several hospitals hoping to find a treatment. Unfortunately, the hospitals didn’t have an ophthalmologist.

When Yvette was old enough to go to school, her mother’s fears for her future increased. Yvette couldn’t see clearly enough to follow the lessons or read her textbooks. She was forced to drop out of school and became isolated and depressed. Yvette rarely smiled.

Yvette a Burundian Girl with cataracts not smiling by Jean de Dieu

Yvette before surgery at the Tertiary Child Eye Health Center in Bujumbura

With little hope remaining, the now 8-year-old Yvette and her mother made the treacherous and long trip to Bujumbura, the capital. There they visited the CTSOE (Tertiary Child Eye Health Center), the only hospital in Burundi capable of treating children with severe visual impairment and blindness. At the CTSOE, Yvette was examined by ophthalmologist Dr. Levi Kandeke, Seva Canada’s partner, who diagnosed her with cataract. Thanks to the generosity of Seva Canada donors, Yvette’s sight-restoring surgery was free of charge.

Yvette a girl from Burundi  smiling with an eye patch by Jean de Diieu

A happy, smiling Yvette after cataract surgery on her left eye!

“I am happy she can smile now. She will be able to go back to school and follow along in class! She can follow her dreams!”

-Yvette's Mother

 

Yvette a girl from Burundi  smiling with an eye patch by Jean de Diieu

A smiling, joyful Yvette after cataract surgery!

Yvette’s mother couldn’t contain her excitement and relief! “I am happy she can smile now. She will be able to go back to school and follow along in class! She can follow her dreams!”

You can give the gift of sight to a child just like Yvette for $150! 

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