Hakeema's first day at school | Orbis

Hakeema received the gift of sight so she could go to school

Hakeema’s parents first spotted problems with her sight when she was just a month old. They rushed her to hospital, where she was given contact lenses for treatment. But they did nothing to help correct her vision – and it continued getting worse.

Hakeema had strabismus (a squint) and, as she grew older, it began to affect her day to day life.

All Hakeema wanted was to go to school and be just like her big sister. But her mother, Sumaiyah, was hesitant about sending her little girl to school. She told us: “She could hardly have contact with light. She would just squint at the light or squeeze her eyes.”

Every minute counts for such a young child. The earlier that strabismus is treated, the less likely it is that there will be long-term damage to their sight.

But there’s a huge need for child eye health services in Ghana. It’s estimated that at least 7,000 children are blind, and over 77% of these cases are avoidable, which is why we value your support so much.

Thanks to your help, thousands of children like Hakeema receive sight-restoring surgery every year.

Thankfully, Sumaiyah received a phone call that would change everything.

She was informed that the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital would be coming to Accra, and Hakeema was invited for screening!

All it took was a routine operation to correct Hakeema’s strabismus. She was a good little patient and held tightly on to the Orbis teddy bear we give each child who we operate on. She christened him ‘Baby Hakeema’.

Because of you, more people like Hakeema won't have to wait for any longer than is necessary to receive the gift of sight.

A few days after her operation Hakeema was back at home running around, singing, dancing, and dragging Baby Hakeema around the house with her. She wore a fetching pair of sunglasses as her eyes were still sensitive to sunlight, but this was all part of the healing process.

You would hardly know that she’d undergone surgery on both eyes just a few days beforehand. Her relieved mum said: “Before the surgery I was nervous, and I was crying. I was really sad. I was just afraid, what if it goes wrong? What if she is under-corrected or over-corrected? It means I have to go through all this trauma again. It was very successful. I feel happy.”

Hakeema is also delighted with her newfound independence. Now her sight has been restored, she has started school and can look forward to a brighter future. Above, you can see her proudly wearing her uniform on her first day of school. She gets to be just like her big sister, who she loves – “Whatever the sister does, she also imitates... writing, singing, eating, everything!”

In these difficult times, your donations are helping to make sure that as many people as possible, like Hakeema, can still receive help. Thank you.

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