Kipar is from remote Northern Kenya and life there is harsh. When we met Kipar, it hadn’t rained in over 5 years and the nearest water was a 10-kilometre walk from the bark and mud hut where Kipar and his family lived.
Kipar was also very dirty because he couldn’t make it to the water to wash. This wasn’t because of neglect – quite the opposite. He was alive because of his family’s love and care. With 42 per cent of Kenya's 22 million population living below the poverty line, the whole family, including children, have to work. Everyone has to be productive to survive.
Kipar’s father, Riteluk, knew there was something wrong with his son’s eyes, but he didn’t know his blindness could be treated. When he heard there could be hope, Kipar and Riteluk walked 25 kilometres in 35 degree heat in search of the eye clinic. It was there Kipar was referred to the Nakuru Eye Unit supported by The Foundation.
Kipar was operated on by paediatric ophthalmologist, Dr Kibata. He knew that without the operation, Kipar would be completely blind in a few years, and most likely dead too. This is why Dr Kibata had sought out specialty training so he could help more children like Kipar.
After the operation, we went with Kipar and Riteluk back to their family. The change in Kipar was incredible. He ran into his mother's arms, showed us how he could somersault on tree branches and play with a bow and arrows like his brother.
Experiencing moments like these makes us even more certain of the work we do - and also the work that’s still to be done.
My desire is to see Kipar becoming a politician, secretary or a teacher, but as for now, I need him to look after my camels as they are our source of livelihood.
- Kipar's father, Riteluk