Aimable, age 4 and Nelly, age 8 are a brother and sister from a rural village in Burundi, one of the poorest countries in the world. They live with their parents and four siblings in a simple hut and farm a small patch of land to feed themselves and make ends meet.

Last August, their mother noticed Aimable was having trouble seeing so she took him to a Seva Canada-sponsored screening camp in a nearby village where he was diagnosed with cataracts.

The ophthalmologist showed his mother the white clouding in the lens of his left eye. Later at home, she examined the rest of her children eyes. Perhaps this was why she had been struggling in school? After another visit to the screening camp, Nelly was also diagnosed with cataracts.

“Boys and girls go blind at the same rate but in low-income countries girls are half as likely as boys to receive care. Girls face socioeconomic and cultural barriers with the additional challenge of being a child, too young to advocate for themselves. As experts in gender and blindness, Seva Canada has pioneered almost two decades of improvement in this area. A 15-minute cataract surgery, which
can cost as little as $50, has rescued many from blindness.” — Penny Lyons, Seva Canada Executive Director

Nelly and Aimable both received sight- restoring cataract surgery. Aimable is a happy, energetic, little boy and Nelly is back at school pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher. She was lucky — 2 out of 3 of the world’s children living with blindness are girls. Together, we can give girls like Nelly an equal right to sight.

When you give girls the power of sight, entire communities have a brighter future. Find out more at seva.ca.