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It is estimated that for every child killed as a result of violent conflict, three are injured and permanently impaired (IFRC Disasters Report 2007)
Read about CBM's Inclusive Emergency Response


A new day


Prof Allen Foster, former President, CBM International
Hello, I'm Allen Foster
and on behalf of the CBM family
I want to thank you for all
your support for the incredible work that is being done
around the world by CBM
to bring sight-restoring surgery to people.
When I was 10 years old I read a book about
a doctor in Africa.
15 years later through a series of events out of
my control I found myself and my family working at
that same hospital in Tanzania.
I was the only doctor for 5 million people.
And it was hard to face the fact that one couldn't help everybody.
At Kikuyu last year 6000 eye operations were performed.
That is six times more than I could
achieve with my team 20 years ago.
And that's come about because of the support
of people like you.
And the support provided by CBM
in training and in equipment
and in the provision of services
and the results are that now many more people
are able to receive sight restoring surgery.
And there are many places where still there are no
eye doctors and no nurses and where the cost of
treatment is too much for poor people.
the motto of CBM is "Together We Can Do More".
We can restore sight to blind people.
It's not necessary that the carry on living in blindness.
We can do it together.
Kijana. This is a New Day.
CBM works for and with
people with disabilities
and if I were to wrap it all up
in one word I would say we strive to give hope and to give
opportunity to people with disabilities in Africa
in Asia, who would otherwise not have
that hope or that opportunity and
that is the exciting part about work with CBM for me.
Kijana is a five-year-old boy who lives with his family
on the outskirts of Nairobi next to a railway line.
The family earns about two dollars a day
when Eunice, his mother, prepares food and then
sells it in the local market.
Today a CBM fieldworker is visiting the family to check on
Kijana's eyes.
Kijana covers his eye with his tiny hand
and squints to read a chart that only a few feet away
but he can't recognise a single letter.
He has congenital cataract in both eyes.
85% of the world's people blind from cataract
live in developing countries
We were able to visit with the family and find out a bit about
Kijana's history and what had happened
in respect to his eyesight and the loss of vision.
And we were thankful to find that even though he had cataract
that we were able to offer treatment.
Children with disabilities are often kept out of sight,
their shame hidden in backrooms.
They often don't attend school
make friends or get an education
or even the opportunity for skills
to support themselves.
I was watching Kijana as he was received the first
day at the hospital and he went through
the screening when the doctor received him
at the screening and writing the notes
in preparation for surgery and I was excited.
The reason I was excited was to know that it is not just
going to be a couple of notes and then there is nothing
that we could do.
That there will be something that can be done to restore
his eyesight and it's just a simple procedure
where a matter of replacing this cloudy lens with
something that will enable the site restoration.
Today Kijana is having an operation that will restore his sight.
A cataract is a milky clouding of the lens
which blocks light from entering the eye
causing blindness.
It's a simple operation.
A small cut is made in the eye
and then the cloudy cataract is taken out.
The doctor then inserts a small plastic lens.
Tomorrow the bandages will be removed
but for now the family waits.
I mean for me today it has been fantastic
because many years ago
my hands on that this type of work and I
was doing the surgery on children like Kijana
and it reminds me of the wonderful work that is done
and it is done around the world.
The Next Day
Everyone is excited as the bandages are removed.
As Kijana's eyes begin to adjust
he sees for the first time his New World.
His eyes are checked and the operation has been successful.
His father Juma smiles
knowing that his son now has so many more opportunities
His mother Eunice is at home waiting.
I think the wonderful thing was actually to see his mum's reaction
receiving him with so much joy
he tilted his head as she picked him up and hugged him
and he said, "oh yes, this is mum".
Kijana is tired after his operation but after eating
and washing he is excited to be home
and be with his brothers and sisters.
Kijana said to his mother that he could see
and Eunice said "I can see big dreams for Kijana
and I have peace now that my son can see".
The story of CBM is not just about the person with the disability
but about the family as well
the burden - so to speak - that comes with disability and poverty
that family has been released from it.
This is a new day.

A short video showing CBM's work to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities in developing countries, with a focus on blindness

Articles about this topic

New light and new sight for Quang!

Quang was living in blindness for two years, with CBM supported activity she is now able to see again

CBM vision and mission

CBM is an international Christian development organisation, committed to improving the quality of life of persons with disabilities in the poorest countries of the world


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