SeeKenya have impacted the lives of thousands of people.
Here are a few of the stories of how their work has impacted and changed lives.
Marion and Sharon are 6-year-old twins who have been brought up by their single mum and grandmother, after their dad left them. Sharon’s eyes are very healthy but Marion has one of the worst cases of vernal conjunctivitis (VKC) we have ever seen, which has caused extensive damage to her surface of her eyes. VKC is a severe form of allergy that is very common in this part of Kenya because of the dry, dusty (and often smoke-filled) environment. If identified in time, it can usually be easily controlled with inexpensive eye drops but if left untreated it can, tragically, lead to blindness.
When we first met Marion at the clinic in September 2019, she could barely open her eyes and was clearly very uncomfortable. We started her on a course of eye drops and she came back to the clinic a week later for a check-up. Even in that short space of time she was significantly better, smiling and able to open her eyes again!
However, despite this wonderful improvement, due to the advanced condition of the allergy, her eyes were still in a very bad way. We were hopeful though, that after using the medication we had given her for a longer period of time, that she would experience greater improvement and be able to see better once again.
The twins visited us at the clinic again in February 2020. Their mother told us that Marion had been much more comfortable for the past few months, but she was still unable to see. Sadly, the damage done to Marion’s eyes in the past is so great that the drops alone are not sufficient to treat her and we have referred her to a specialist hospital to see whether she could be helped with surgery. We hope to see them at our next clinic and that she will be helped by the specialist.
Marion’s tragic condition could have been avoided if she had received the treatment that she needed when she first started getting symptoms. Her sister Sharon loves art and drawing but sadly Marion’s sight is so poor she cannot enjoy these activities with her. Because of the lack of quality and available eye care in this part of Kenya, many cases of VKC are not treated or go completely undiagnosed – causing unnecessary pain and sight loss and seen all too often in children. Will you help stop people like Marion lose their sight unnecessarily?
Just £5 can help provide 10 children with the simple medication (like Marion has) to treat VKC and prevent severe cases like this one. You donation is so much more than money, it is the gift of better sight – and the opportunities for a better life that go with it. If you would like to give regularly or make a one-off donation please click here.
Neema was just 4 years old when she attended the SeeKenya clinic in October 2018. Her parents had driven over 500km from the Ethiopian border in a desperate attempt to help their daughter. Neema has a condition called sclerocornea, which means that when her eyes formed as a baby they remained opaque rather than having a clear window to allow light inside. Because of this, she is unable to focus clearly on anything and is functionally blind.
The family had visited 17 different hospitals or opticians both in Kenya and in Ethiopia as they sought to find a solution to their little girl’s condition. Each time they were told that she was blind and nothing could be done. Then they heard about the clinics run by SeeKenya in Meru and knew that, as any parent would, they had to pursue the possibility that this time it could be different.
Peter Marson, founder of SeeKenya, examined Neema and he was quickly able to establish that she was extremely short sighted and that her vision could possibly be helped with a strong pair of glasses. A frame was chosen and within an hour the glasses were made. This was not a perfect solution and has not resolved the underlying problem of the opaque corneas but Neema could now see movement across the room and was able to give High Fives to those around. We later heard that on the journey back home she was laughing and giggling and pointing to cartoon characters on a TV screen in the back of the seat in front.
Peter also promised to investigate whether there are any surgical treatment options available in the UK. After a number of the SeeKenya team had gathered around Neema and prayed for her and her family a very tearful father could only say “You are the first people who have given us hope”.
Tony first came to our clinic in October 2018. He could barely see and was in terrible pain. A graphics design student, Tony had been robbed of his mobile phone and laptop while leaving his university class. The robbers threw acid in his face so that he couldn’t identify them and left him for dead. Thankfully, he was found and taken to hospital where doctors saved his life – but tragically, not his sight. Nor, through lack of specialist expertise, could they relieve his intense pain. Thankfully, SeeKenya’s optometrists could.
Tony come back to our clinic in February 2019 for a check-up. Thanks to the treatment he had received at the last clinic a small (but just about usable) amount of his sight had returned – miraculously enabling him to keep creating graphics – albeit by having paper or a tablet only centimetres away from his face. He and his family were so grateful to the SeeKenya team, who this time were also able to provide him with some visual aids and are seeking other solutions back in the UK to help both restore his eyesight further and help him use what sight he has. With this help Tony believes he may be able to finish his design course. We’ll never forget his gratitude or his inspiring attitude – to carry on, despite the debilitating horror he experienced.
Twelve year old Deborah came with her mother to see the SeeKenya team back in October 2012. She arrived at the clinic clearly suffering from the eye disease trachoma. Having been assessed by the team at the clinic, she was given some drops and oral antibiotics to treat the trachoma.
One year later Deborah made a return visit to the clinic in Meru to thank the team for their help. Her eyes have been healed of the trachoma and she is now able to go to school and her future is full of hope. During this return visit Deborah also received a pair of sun glasses to protect her against any future eye infections.
Deborah’s story sums up why SeeKenya exists to provide vital medicines to those without access to basic eye care. For the cost of under £1 Deborah was given eye drops to help clear the trachoma and restore her sight.
Mary visited Pete’s clinic in Gachie in 2011. She had very poor vision and dropped out of university as she was no longer able to read her books to help her study. She was given some minus 12 very high strength glasses to help her to read again.
A year later when the team came back, her mum came and told Pete that her daughter was back at university, was doing really well and was able to complete her training. Mary now has the chance to earn a living that would previously have been impossible.
Anna is a single mother with teenage children and a two year old. She supports her family by hairdressing which she does from her home. Her eyesight has been deteriorating and she was finding it increasingly difficult to do her work and provide for her family.
She was given a simple pair of reading glasses by the SeeKenya team which then enabled her to continue with her work and support her family as a single parent.