Imagine if, instead of eyelids you had sheets of sandpaper over your eyes.
Every time you blink, your eyeball is scratched raw. The pain is unbearable…
This is Trachoma. The most common infectious blinding disease in our world today.
Babiwemba lives in Ethiopia – one of the worst-affected areas on earth. She lives with the daily reminder of the pain of Trachoma – the itching, watering and eventual intense pain is excruciating as her eyelids turn inward and every blink scratches her eye like sandpaper.
And like so many other mothers and grandmothers, Babiwemba washes the faces of her grandchildren, wiping their tears and cuddling them, unknowingly passing the disease on to the whole family.
The heartbreak of the disease is that it spreads when mums cuddle babies. Or when children hug grandmothers… it’s highly contagious and can be spread through love.
Babiwemba became infected with the Trachoma bacteria about four years ago – the first sign was itching and pain. Then it began to turn her eyelid inwards…
And soon, every time she blinked, her eyelashes scratched against her eye.
As time goes by (and without treatment) Babiwemba’s eyelashes have scraped the cornea – just like sandpaper. And soon she’ll be completely blind.
When that happens, there will be nothing anybody can do. Babiwemba will be blind forever.
Trachoma is one of the most unfair diseases in the world. It is passed on by love, in places where people are so poor there isn’t water to wash with.
And then it makes these already-poor families even poorer. How will Babiwemba work to feed herself or the little grandson in her care?
“I find it difficult to fetch water, to get food or collect firewood. Its hard to prepare meals for myself, or my grandchildren,” Babiwemba says sadly.
Like many people with a disability in Africa, Babiwemba has no choice but to rely on her family – yet they are desperately poor too. Her daughter-in-law Susan says, “I have been preparing meals for her for two years. (But) if I go to work in the field and am back late… then she goes hungry.”
Despite the constant pain and worry, Babiwemba’s biggest heartbreak isn’t for her own suffering; it is for the suffering of her grandchildren.
However, with your support, we can wipe out Trachoma in entire communities and rescue a whole generation of children from excruciating pain and blindness. And with the powerful push into Ethiopia with Outreach Clinics this year, we have a chance to stop it for good.
All across Ethiopia over the next few months, cbm and our partners will facilitate Outreach Clinics to distribute the antibiotic Zithromax to children and their families. We’ll target children who are already infected by the bacteria. Our teams measure them, and then give them 1 – 4 tablets (depending on their height) to kill Trachoma.
And because right now, every dollar you give will be multiplied to become 8 times the value of antibiotics, we know we stand a very good chance of stopping it – for good.
Please respond today with a generous donation – multiplied 8 times – to stop Trachoma.