PRETTY IN PINK…GLASSES

Milka is a curious 3-year-old girl living in a rural village in war-torn Burundi. Her family lives in a traditional beehive-shaped hut made of strips of wood woven around poles and covered with tin. The family farms the surrounding land for their livelihood.

When Milka was just over a year old, she began to walk, but she didn’t progress the way most children do — she kept falling and was always bumping into things. A year later, Milka was still struggling to walk properly. Her mother began to worry. She noticed that her daughter’s eyes didn’t move or track properly when she was watching the chickens in their yard.

Milka’s mother heard of a Seva Canada- supported Community Eye Centre in Bujumbura from an outreach worker; but she was scared. She’d never been to the city before. Determined to get help for her daughter, she put Milka in her fanciest dress and made the journey to the capital.

“Without proper care and locally available eye care services, children like Milka often don’t finish school or learn a trade and will continue to live in poverty and face life-long challenges. This is especially true for girls, who make up two-thirds of the world’s blind or visually-impaired children but are only half as likely as boys to receive care,” explains Penny Lyons, Executive Director of Seva Canada (seva.ca).

Finding and treating children with eye problems early is crucial to ensuring healthy vision for life. Lyons says that’s why Seva donors fund free eye screenings, prescription glasses and surgeries for thousands of children in developing countries each year.

At the Community Eye Centre, Milka was diagnosed with severe myopia or nearsightedness. Thanks to the generosity of Seva donors, she received a pair of pretty, pink glasses free of charge — glasses her family could never have afforded.

Now that Milka can see, she’s not only walking properly, she’s more animated and outgoing than before. Her parents are looking forward to sending her to school this September. seva.ca