Free Cataract Surgery in Africa—Mariam Can See Again!

With YOUR help, we can supply free cataract surgery to the millions of impoverished people in need of healthcare who are suffering from cataracts in Africa. For example, meet Mariam Dembele, a sixty-two-year-old woman living in an area of Mali, Africa suffering from extreme poverty, unsanitary water, and food insecurity. She doesn’t have much money or a car, and lives several hours away from the closest hospital, making it nearly impossible for her to seek medical care to fend against treatable illnesses and diseases that spread and cause death in her area of the country.

Eye Cataracts

Unfortunately, due to these poor living conditions, Mariam developed the debilitating disease cataracts, an illness of the eyes that’s the leading cause of blindness in Africa. She’s had the disease, which makes her vision extremely blurry and discolored, for years now. This in turn makes normal, everyday activities like navigating around her home and village, eating, washing herself, and taking care of her family incredibly difficult, if not impossible.

Needless to say, this has not only greatly impacted Mariam’s quality of life, but also her self-esteem. She doesn’t feel like the strong, capable woman she used to be anymore, but rather a burden on her family who needs to assist her; thus, impacting their quality of life and productivity as well. Plus, she’s also been out of work for several years now due to her cataracts, so she can’t support and contribute to her family and community financially like she used to either, perpetuating the region’s extreme poverty.

Embrace Relief’s Mobile Health Clinic

Fortunately, Mariam learned about Embrace Relief’s Mobile Health Clinic, a clinic that travels with certified volunteer doctors to remote areas of Mali to assist people like Mariam. She went for a checkup one day—the first time she ever saw a doctor in her life—and was told to come back the next day for a quick, painless, free surgery to restore the sight in her eyes.

She arrived at the clinic the next morning and was finished with the operation by noon. She was incredibly impressed with how kind the doctors were and how they constantly made sure she was always comfortable. Plus, the actual procedure only took a few minutes and consisted of removing the damaged lenses from her eyes and replacing them with clear, plastic ones that can never be damaged. Mariam then came back the next day for a post-operation checkup to make sure her eyes were healing properly, which they were, and she couldn’t contain her excitement. For the first time in many years, she could finally see her family’s faces again, get back to work, and lay her gaze on this beautiful world again, including the sunset that very night! She was so happy, she giggled non stop as she walked all the way back to her home in the village. People shot her weird looks as she went, probably thinking she was crazy, but she didn’t care—she had her life back! And for the first time in many years, she was happy again.

How You Can Help People Like Mariam

Since 2013, our volunteer doctors have performed nearly 60,000 health checkups and 3,700 cataract surgeries. We also operate the Mali Medical Center, which provides medical equipment to the Clinic Gaoussou Fofana and Clinic Planet Vision in the capital city of Bamako, Mali. By donating to us today, you can help us give back the gifts of sight and health to thousands more people in Mali just like Mariam so they can live long, fulfilling lives and contribute to their communities.