Vann's Story Vann's Story

Vann's Story

What happens to our amazing patients, years after their sight is restored? In 2013, Vann was three years old and blind from cataracts. Her parents, Barang and Thavy, worried constantly about her future. But four years later, she’s thriving.

A cataract backlog in Cambodia

Like many people with cataract, all Vann needed was a 20 minute operation to fix her eyes. But the eye care system in Cambodia, where 90% of blindness is avoidable, isn’t always able to address the needs of the people.

In Cambodia, there's an estimated 80,000 people with cataract in Cambodia and a further 20,000 people developing cataract every year.

How can you explain to your daughter why the others think she's different?
-  Barang, Vann's father
Barang desperately sought help for his daughter, but couldn’t afford the surgery on his garment factory wage. Barang and his wife, Thavy, knew that if they couldn’t help Vann, one of them would have to give up work and look after her – driving them further in to poverty. At that point, they were scared to have another child in case he or she had cataract too.
Before she got surgery….she was very hateful in her heart and wanted to get angry and hit everything and cry.
- Barang, Vann's father 


Then Barang heard that The Fred Hollows Foundation could help. Finally, the family felt there was hope for Vann.
 
She's a different girl now
As they waited for Vann to receive her operation, Barang made the simple promise to Vann that when she could see, he’d take her to the river to help catch fish for dinner.

Four years later, Vann is doing so much more than fishing. Each morning she rides her bike to school, she plays elastics with her friends, and best of all, she hugs her younger brother Vythavid. 

Vann says she wants to be a doctor one day. And who knows, perhaps one day, she’ll be the one restoring sight to others.

This is the gift that you can give young women and girls when you donate to The Fred Hollows Foundation – the gift of education, a future, and dreams that come true.




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