Could you believe that costs just £30?
That seems remarkably cheap, yet that is what is costs to have a cataract operation in some of the poorest parts of the world. Thirty pounds, and a five minute operation. And yet millions of people are unable to have this surgery due to a lack of funding and a lack of surgeons.
Here in the UK I don’t think cataracts are seen as a big deal. My mother-in-law has had two cataract operations, both performed well before she had a major impact to her sight. I learned about them in a very throwaway manner from my husband. It was a conversation that went along these lines: “oh, my Mum had her cataracts done today. What’s for dinner?” We’re not used to seeing people actually go blind from this very treatable condition.
There’s a charity called Sightsavers, which is an international organization working with partners in developing countries to eliminate avoidable blindness and promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. They are running a campaign at the moment, to raise money to perform cataract operations in parts of the world where this treatment isn’t as available as it is in the UK. They want to raise £30 million in order to perform one million operations. The campaign is called “One Million Miracles”, because to the people who will receive these operations each one will be a miracle.
As part of the campaign, Sightsavers are following a gentleman called Mr Winesi (pictured above). Mr Winesi lives in Malawi in Africa, and has been blind for the last two years due to bilateral cataracts. He has never seen his grandson, Luca. Today Mr Winesi will undergo cateract surgery, and Sightsavers will be following his operation using Google Hangouts. You can follow his story along with them. Today at 1.30pm UK time you can meet Mr Winesi, and all the health worker heroes delivering this vital work. Then tomorrow at 1.30 UK time the bandages will be removed and Mr Winesi will be able to see for the very first time.
You’ll be able to follow Mr Winesi’s operation on the Million Miracles site over the next few days. Obviously Sightsavers are hoping loads of people will tune in to watch, and this will show the difference that just £30 can make.
If you can’t afford to donate the full £30, why not club together with some friends to make up the total together. I’ve joined up with my friends Merry and Jane with each of us donating £10, so together we’re going to restore someone’s sight. And even better than that, if you donate before the end of this year the UK government will match your donation £ for £, which means that your donation of £30 will actually restore TWO peoples sight. Or you can donate £15 to restore one persons sight.