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The first day of school for African boy Collins The first day of school for African boy Collins

The first day of school for African boy Collins

It’s another hot and sunny day in Kenya. The sound of a hammer hitting the rocks kept echoing in the quarry. Six-year-old Collins had been sitting under the shade of a tree since eight in the morning, waiting for his father Enoch to finish working. Once they get home from work at five, Enoch will often have to leave his boy again for a few hours while he gets food for them. Collins often waited in the dark outside the house for his father to come home. 

When Collins was five years old, he longed for the first day of school. However not long after, he had to drop out. The teacher tried several times to help him by writing clearly on the blackboard and in his book, but all was in vain. Instead, Collins would write his own things. He could not cope with class work. The teacher could do nothing but to send him home. 
It was all because Collins could not see the blackboard clearly. 

Enoch said, “Children used to hit Collins and run away and because he couldn’t see, he wasn’t able to tell who has hit him, and that’s why most of the times he used to prefer being alone.” 

In a bid to end his child’s suffering, Enoch sought several local health facilities. Sadly no doctors could accurately point out Collins’ problem. Disappointment even led Enoch to believe that his child had been bewitched.

Finally, Enoch discovered that Collins suffered bilateral congenital cataract. A hospital six hour away from their home could operate on Collins, but the journey to the hospital alone was too expensive for Enoch, who only earned HKD120. Enoch felt completely helpless. 

Collins should have been attending school, instead of sitting at the quarry all day to wait for his father to bring him back home.
I desire to play sports, have a dog and even go school and later to college. I wish to become a doctor when I grow up and later in my life have children of my own.
- Collins

The story of Collins is similar to many underprivileged children in Kenya who face many adversities, but have still retained hope for future. A community health worker who attended training by The Fred Hollows Foundation quickly identified the needs of Collins and referred him to one of the only two eye hospitals that are able to operate on children. The Foundation organised and paid for his travel and surgery.

After so many years of poor eye sight, for the first time in years Collins was able to see his father’s face, his friends and even their home.

I want to finish school and get a good job. I must build a good house for my father. I love my dad so much.
- Collins

Two years later The Foundation visited Collins again. The family had moved to a home close to a school. 

“Life is much easier now, Collins is able to help with house chores, do some errands, and play with other children, things which he never used to do before,” said Enoch.  

Collins was able to play a football match now and enjoy attending class with his 20 fellow students. Although poverty still worries the family, hope remained for Collins and Enoch.  
Going to school is the right of every child. Your support will change lives and bring hope to more children like Collins. Please support The Fred Hollows Foundation.