The Fred Hollows Foundation is helping provide emergency eye care to children of Afghanistan injured during February's storm of protests over the recent burning of the Koran at a US army base.

Shabnam, a 15-year-old girl from Kabul, lost the sight in her right eye when hit by a stray bullet from a passing protester while hanging washing on her roof.  

She is being treated in the Foundation-supported Paediatric Unit of Hayatabad Medical Complex in Peshawar, Pakistan – just a few hours from the Afghan border.

With no specialist children's ophthalmologists in Afghanistan, Shabnam had to take a seven hour bus ride from Kabul to Pakistan, bleeding and in pain.

Doctors say the sight in her right eye cannot be restored but they will try to save the globe of the eye –  keeping its structure and preventing disfigurement.

With help, she hopes to return to school and realise her dream of becoming a doctor.

The Foundation is funding paediatric eye services in Peshawar; building a children's eye unit and training a paediatric ophthalmologist – part of a major initiative to improve specialist eye health facilities throughout Pakistan.

Children in Afghanistan are paying a terrible price as victims of the current conflict, and health services in Pakistan are having to pick up the pieces.

The Foundation has been working in Pakistan since 1998. Today, the rate of blindness is less than one per cent in Pakistan – half that of the early 90s.

Learn more about The Foundation's work in Pakistan.