As a child, I was not happy to learn that I needed glasses. Why? I was worried about looking like a nerd and getting teased at school.
My reaction seems to be pretty common here in North America, but in India and Africa, most children welcome eyeglasses as a precious gift. Here’s a great story from India that shows why.
Reethu Malli, who lives with her family in Fatehnagar slum in New Delhi, was an excellent student – so much so that her father, a factory worker, made major financial sacrifices to get the 12-year-old into a nearby private school. That’s why her parents were concerned when she started complaining of headaches and trouble seeing the blackboard. Her teachers also noticed her behaviour changed and she even fell down the school stairs.
When her father took her to a local doctor, he prescribed rest and multi-vitamins. After several days, there was no improvement. In fact, Reethu’s marks plunged and she started staying home to avoid school and her friends. Her parents were very concerned – what would happen to Reethu if she couldn’t get a good education?
A neighbour recommended the local Operation Eyesight vision centre, which provides treatment free of charge. After and examination there, the technician recommended eyeglasses. Reethu and her family were unconvinced that such a simple thing could be the answer.
Fortunately, one of our community health workers followed up with the family and convinced them to get Reethu screened again. When she was diagnosed with refractive error for a second time, they agreed to try the eyeglasses, which were available without charge to them thanks to generous Operation Eyesight donors.
Today, thanks to those brand new, custom-fitted eyeglasses, Reethu can see clearly again. She is playing with her friends, attending school and achieving good grades once more! Her glasses help ensure she gets a good education and a bright future. Her parents are thrilled. And so are we. It’s a privilege to put our donors’ gifts to use in ways that truly change lives.
You can change the lives of three children like Reethu by giving just $20 through our online Gift Guide today. Give gifts that give twice this holiday season!