•“I have always wanted to see my children in a school uniform. I cannot wait to see the go to school. May God bless you and all the Australian people,” she said.
As we celebrate international women's day, Sharon Akinyi, from Banana village in Kenya’s Siaya County, knows how important eye health is to a young person’s future.
Since birth, Sharon, 25, has suffered from eye problems and had cataracts in both eyes.
“No one in my family had a history of eye problems except me. I studied up to class seven and dropped out due to my condition. I could not read the writing on the black board and could not see far objects," she said.
Sharon was a victim of bullying and her social life suffered. Now she worries that her three children – who also experience vision loss – will experience the same fate.
“I can’t take them to school because they can’t read the blackboard clearly,” she said.
Two years earlier, Sharon’s aunt urged her to seek medical help but the family could not afford the cost of treating her vision loss.
“She even took me for prayers, but the situation did not change.”
Sharon is a casual labourer, washing people’s clothing and tilling the land while her husband Joseph works as a caretaker of some nearby rental properties. Their combined earnings are barely enough to sustain the family, let alone pay for medical care.
Thanks to the support of The Fred Hollows Foundation and the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), eye surgery was organised for Sharon and her children.
Now they can all see.
“I have always wanted to see my children in a school uniform. I cannot wait to see the go to school. May God bless you and all the Australian people,” she said.