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Zambia: charity's work changes children's lives

How you can help eye charity Orbis to save the sight of thousands of Zambian children ...

How you can help eye charity Orbis to save the sight of thousands of Zambian children ...

David is 10 years old, lives in Zambia and until recently couldn’t see properly.

When he was just months old his mother, Maria, noticed something was wrong with his eyes, but her family mistakenly felt any issues would disappear on their own.

Aged two, David’s sight had deteriorated further and his mother took him to the local traditional healer. They made cuts near his eyes, putting herbs on the wounds, but his sight continued to worsen.

As he got older, David fell into ditches when running to catch his brothers, playing his favourite sport football became impossible and his teacher noticed his writing was illegible.

Sight-saving charity Orbis has launched Vision for Zambia, an appeal to help the thousands of children in the country, like David, facing unnecessary blindness. Until 3 February, all donations will be doubled by the UK government.

Funds raised will enable Orbis to improve knowledge of eye diseases in rural areas and train more than 750 healthcare professionals to diagnose, treat and refer children who are in urgent need of care.

Maria was distraught at David’s deteriorating sight and, years later, went against family pressure to take him to the local clinic where he was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes.

He was treated at the Orbis-supported Kitwe Eye Annexe – the only facility in Zambia equipped to provide the specialised care David needed.

David’s surgery was successful; however delaying his treatment sadly led to permanent amblyopia (lazy eye). Despite this he’s back at school and spends every other moment playing football. He hopes to one day play for his favourite team Chelsea.

Children in Zambia are around four times more likely to suffer from blindness than those living in developed countries, despite half of all childhood blindness being avoidable or treatable.

What’s more shocking is that in developing countries, 60% of children die within a year of becoming blind.

Help save the sight of another child like David before it’s too late. Make a donation today via the Orbis website and until 3 February it will be doubled by the UK government – helping Orbis to reach twice as many children in Zambia.

+Find out more about Orbis at gbr.orbis.org

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