When Hope Breakfast producer Ally Barnes travelled to Nepal last year to see the life-changing work of CBM in their outreach hospitals, she didn’t expect to end up feeling heartbroken.
It happened after she met two young teenager sisters, Riya and Nazmin, who had travelled from India to have cataracts removed from their eyes: cataracts that were sending them blind.
Getting to know their story, Ally learnt they’d had the cataracts since they were little girls. For around 10 years, they had slowly been losing more and more of their sight. This affects their ability to access education, their ability to make friends and play with children their own age, their ability to help in the home and be active in community life – as well as their future prospects for work and marriage.
But living in India, their parents having little income, there was no hope of them ever having an expensive, sight-restoring operation—until they heard about CBM.
Riya and Nazmin had travelled across the Indian border to get to the eye hospital in Nepal – the biggest of its kind in the world – for a simple operation that takes about eight minutes. They were hopeful it would change their lives.
But sadly, it wasn’t to be.
Ally met them both before and after their operation, and describes the moment their post-surgery eye patches were taken off.
“On the day that their patches were removed, it was devastating to see that both of them still had blurry eyesight,” Ally said. “We learnt that that’s because they’d had those cataracts for so long, that they’d become so hard [and damaged their vision].
“It was just so tragic.
“For something that’s so preventable and treatable, these girls could have perfect eyesight, if they’d just had access to affordable eye care.”
The Sooner the Operation, The More Chance of Restoring Sight
For Ally, it was a moment that would stay with her, fuelling her passion to make a difference for others like those precious girls. She said there’s an urgency around connecting people with a simple cataract surgery – because “the longer they have to wait, the less chance they have of regaining their vision”.
“It creates a sense of excitement and urgency this Miracles Day, to raise a ton of money to ensure that CBM can fund outreach hospitals,” she said, “so that people like Riya and Nazmin can get access to these surgeries earlier.
“The longer they have to wait, the less chance they have of regaining their vision”
“I’m really excited – because after a year of being told what we can’t do, we can now do something and we can actually change lives.”
To help young people like Riya and Nazmin have access to sight-saving surgeries sooner, please consider donating to the CBM Miracles Day appeal. Each surgery costs only $33, but changes the life of an entire family.