Over the last decade, the generosity of thousands of Australians has helped more than 300,000 people living in some of the poorest parts of the world to access sight-saving cataract surgery as part of CBM’s Miracles Day.
A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens and, if untreated, can lead to permanent vision impairment or blindness. While the condition is both preventable and treatable, the majority of people living with cataracts are in low income and developing countries where they cannot access or afford treatment.
For just $33 – which is less than the cost of two movie tickets (or less than the cost of one seat in Gold Class!) – you can provide the Miracle of safe and effective surgery to somebody living with cataracts.
With the clouded lens replaced by a clear artificial lens which generally lasts a lifetime, people can begin to dream of a positive future where hope had previously seemed lost.
The overwhelmingly positive impact that a Miracle can have on not only the recipient but their loved ones is shown in a story like that of Margil and Aljon, siblings from the Philippines who were the faces of Miracles Day in 2017.
At the time, the seven-year-old girl and her 12-year-old brother were completely blind from cataracts, living in a tiny hut the size of a bathroom with their nine family members. As the family had sometimes gone without no electricity, the children often accidentally injured themselves around the house due to their vision impairments.
All they longed to do were things other children their age could, like to go to school and play basketball with friends.
At the time, Margil and Aljon’s father Herminigildo shared his hope for their futures.
“I want my children to be able to study and finish their education because I am getting older and if I die, I just want to ensure my children’s future.”
Through donations raised on Miracles Day, the siblings had their sight restored. Five years later, they are thriving. Margil is in school and wants to study hotel and hospitality management when she is older. Aljon, now 18, is training to become a massage therapist.
“I can now see better compared to before. Even at night, my vision really helps. It is even clearer at night. So, I am really grateful that I have been operated on,” he says.
Another life changed by a Miracle is that of Raoul (pictured at top), a young father from the Philippines. Five years ago, his failing eyesight meant he could not work or provide for his wife or baby daughter.
After having his sight restored, Raoul now says he can now “live like the rest of the people around me.
“I don’t bump into things now, and I can travel and walk at night without hassle. I couldn’t imagine having worked in a big construction if I’m still blind.”
The face of this year’s Miracles Day is Sabina, a nine-year-old girl from Nepal. Because of her cataracts, the little girl was bullied and had to drop out of school.
Her mum Devi prayed for her future, and was worried her daughter would end up like the blind children she saw begging in their village.
“Without this support, I couldn’t afford her treatment.” ~ Mum, Devi
As a single mum, Devi couldn’t afford Sabina’s cataract surgery. Then, thanks to the Miracles provided by generous Australians, Sabina was able to access free surgery and glasses. She has since returned to school and loves playing with her friends.
“Without this support, I couldn’t afford her treatment,” says Devi.
“I can send her to school again, she will be able to live independently even if I die. That’s how I feel.”
This year, CBM has a goal to transform another 52,000 lives on Miracles Day, Thursday August 18. Following widespread COVID-19 lockdowns, there is a backlog of people needing urgent cataract surgery, so there has never been a more important time to provide a Miracle of your own to someone in need.
Can you join us to give someone like Margil, Aljon, Raoul or Sabina the gift of sight by donating a $33 Miracle today? Visit www.miraclesday.com.au or call 131 226 to donate.
Article supplied with thanks to CBM.
All images: Supplied, CBM