Your generous donation can change people’s lives – Check out our Trachoma Gift Giver to see how many people you can help!
I'd like to introduce you to a brave woman with a kind smile.
Her name is Badecha, pronounced Bah-dee-kaa. She’s a 55 year old widow, and she lives in a small mud house with a thatched roof in the village of Butajira, in Ethiopia, East Africa. She can hear her daughter and two sons – all aged between 5 and 12, playing outside in the sunshine. She is gradually losing her sight and is afraid that one day soon, she will only be able to hear them.
For many years now, Badecha has been suffering from an eye infection that has got steadily worse through repeated re-infection over many years. It began with itching, but now the symptoms are at an advanced stage. The repeated trachoma infection has caused scarring on the inside of her eyelids. Badecha’s eyelashes have turned inwards and are scraping against her cornea with every agonizing blink. The pain has become so unbearable that, from sheer desperation, she plucks out her own eyelashes hoping to get relief from the pain, if only for a short time. But they always grow back.
Like many other people living in rural Ethiopia, Badecha has the trachoma infection. Without help, she will lose her sight forever.
Trachoma is a leading infectious cause of preventable blindness thriving in poor rural communities. It is highly contagious and is spread by eye-seeking flies which breed on human faces. It thrives in areas where families may struggle to access clean water or need to share washing cloths, spreading the infection further, and are re-infected on a daily basis. Over years, the infection causes the insides of the eyelids to become scarred. It will progress until the eyelids turn inwards, constantly rubbing the eyelashes against the surface of the eye. Untreated, progressive loss of vision and eventual blindness will follow.
Trachoma is an extremely painful way to go blind, but it’s relatively simple to prevent. By making a gift to cbm, you will make it possible for teams of health workers to distribute medicine, operate and to teach communities of people like Badecha and her children the simple methods to stay safe from infection.
Your gift will help to fund a life-changing programme in schools and communities. It’s called SAFE and it will help to ensure that these children don’t experience the pain that has plagued Badecha for so many years. The SAFE strategy involves:
Surgery – to save the sight of people like Badecha with advanced trachoma symptoms
Antibiotics – to treat the infection and stop the symptoms advancing
Face-washing – teaching rural communities the importance of basic hand and face washing that will help prevent trachoma infection
Environmental improvements – giving better access to water so families can keep their faces, clothes and bedding clean, and providing basic toilets to decrease flies – these are all sustainable ways to reduce the chances of infection.
It is a race against time to find people with advanced symptoms of trachoma to provide surgery before they lose their sight completely. No-one should face a life of pain and darkness from a preventable infection like trachoma. Please help to save the sight of people like Badecha while there is still hope.
Donate now to stop children and adults from going blind. YOUR DONATION WILL BE MULTIPLIED BY 8.