Sight restored to young and old in Rwanda

A 78-year-old Rwandan grandmother can see again after receiving cataract surgery at the Gisenyi Eye Unit, supported by The Foundation.

Catherine Nyirabuyange had not been able to see for an entire year. She didn't know that treatment for her vision loss was available. Then she learnt about the sight-saving operations performed at the Gisenyi Eye Unit through her local church group.

Soon after, she had the cataract in her right eye removed at the eye clinic, 100 kilometres north-west of the country’s capital, Kigali.

After her positive experience, Catherine has now become an advocate for cataract surgery among friends in her village.

“It is simple,” she says, “They get a transfer from their health centre, then come to you for surgery… then they see.”

Surgery has also given the widow the chance to spoil her grandchildren when they visit.

“You can’t refuse your grandchildren anything,” she says.

Through the support of The Foundation, an 11-year-old boy named Mugabe also had his sight restored at the eye clinic. Mugabe needed surgery after the central section of his eye containing vitreous (the eye’s internal gel) was damaged.

This had left him totally blind in the right eye. He was also partially blind in the left eye.

Mugabe is from the farming district of Rutsiro. His parents were too elderly to walk their son to the clinic, so Eric Rukangirwa, a family neighbour, brought Mugabe in for surgery.

Thanks to The Foundation's supporters, Mugabe’s sight has now been restored. He can read, return to school and join his brothers and sisters in playing his favourite sport, football.

Catherine and Mugabe are just two of the hundreds of people who have received the gift of sight at the Gisenyi Eye Unit over the past year.

>Learn more about the Rwanda program.
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