Anita, a young mother from Nepal, can tell you how devastating it is to watch your three-year-old son’s face fade away. She can tell you how hard it is, as each day passes, to miss all of the special moments in your child’s life as you slowly lose your sight.
Anita was only 16 when she was married to a boy in her community, and she gave birth to her son at 21. Soon after her sight began to fail until one day she was no longer able to farm or care for her son.
As Anita’s vision worsened, her husband started treating her poorly and she left him to live with relatives instead. Eventually, Anita could no longer walk unassisted, work, or live independently.
The greatest tragedy of Anita’s story is that her vision loss was simply from having cataracts - an easily solvable problem that only costs $50 to fix.
Why Women and Girls?
Women are 12% more likely to have vision loss than men and 8% more likely to be blind. Women and girls in the low-income countries face many barriers to health care beyond a general lack of access to services and financial resources.
Women cannot travel alone in some cultures, their needs are not prioritized by some male-headed households, and they often have to stay at home to care for children - unable to take the short time off required for a life changing operation. But without vision, they cannot work or live independently and become more vulnerable to poverty, ill-treatment and abuse.
These are realities Anita knows too well. With support from women in her community and her relative, Anita visited the Bharatpur Eye Hospital and was diagnosed with developmental cataract in both eyes. When Anita learned the cost of the surgery, she cried at the admission desk because she could not afford to pay. Thankfully because of the support of donors like you, Anita's surgery costs were covered.
Anita had surgery on both eyes and with her vision restored, she plans to attend training in her village to become a tailor, open her own business, and take care of her son.
Anita’s life has changed profoundly.
But many more women and girls need help. Every day that they live without sight is another day lost without independence and without full participation in their children and family’s life.