At Vision for the Poor, we believe that every individual, no matter how old, how young, or how wealthy, has the right to enjoy the gift of sight that allows all of us to navigate the world upon which we trod, to soak in the loving gaze of our family and dear friends, and to witness the beauty of our natural surroundings. Some are born without that right, and too many of those cases go untreated, resulting in an individual who must face a life of blindness.
In Guatemala alone, 5,000 children are in need of sight-saving surgery, but most go untreated due to a lack of affordable, quality care. Here is a recent story of a child that was treated at the Visualiza eye clinic, established by Vision for the Poor, in Guatemala City.
On December 17th, a family of three walked through the doors at the Visualiza eye clinic in Guatemala City, Guatemala where Guatemalan eye doctors perform eye surgeries at low cost or for free, depending upon each patient's financial needs. Patients are not turned away for lack of money.
Guided by his parents was Felix, 5 years old; he was clearly unable to guide himself, and his gaze was distant and unfocused. Felix's father explained that when his son was just 8 months old, he and his wife noticed that their child's eyes looked milky white. They had taken him to a hospital and were told that Felix was suffering from bilateral congenital cataracts. He was blind in both eyes. The family supported three other children, and were unable to pay for the care their son needed. So they went home, distraught and sad about not being able to provide sight for their child. Throughout the next several years, Felix was in and out of the hospital for injuries he acquired from falling and bumping into things.
Five years later, the family heard about the Visualiza eye clinic where surgeries and eye care are provided at affordable prices for all. On the same day they walked into the clinic, Felix received surgery to remove his cataracts. Immediately after surgery he looked around at the people looking over him and said to his mother, Maria, “Mommy, there are so many people here.”
“He is seeing!” She proclaimed. “God bless you. Thank you.”
Funds raised for Climb for Sight allow these surgeries to take place. Participants in Climb for Sight couple an adventure of a lifetime to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, with providing an amazing service to those in need. Through sponsorships, climbers raise between $3,000 and $10,000, all of which is donated to our social service clinics in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Haiti to provide free surgeries for children under the age of 14.
We could not do what we do without the generous support of our climbers, those who sponsor climbers, and our kind donors who contribute to the building of our clinics which become sustainable within 3 years of establishment.
So Maria's Thank you and God Bless can be extended to all of those who support us and decide to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with the intention of giving the gift of sight.