by sharon waugh
According to the SA National Council for the Blind, 80% of blindness in South Africa is avoidable. That equates to about 310 623 people who are unnecessarily blind.
Another example of how this project has changed a life began on a recent flight that was in no way related to the Flying Eye Clinic. While on the ground working on one of our other projects, a healthcare worker, who had received training from CHOC through Flying for Life and was aware of the Flying Eye Clinic, drew our General Manager Maxine’s attention to the eye of a 10-year-old girl. Events Munzhelele had been living with a granuloma on her eye since 2008. It was painful, she couldn’t completely close her eye and had been enduring this discomfort for half her life. In an area where there is 60 – 65% unemployment, where even those who do have work only earn about R500 per month, the high cost of the trip to the nearest hospital (about 90km away on poor roads) prevents people from making the journey. It is no wonder that people, like Events, suffer for years without seeking treatment.
“It’s been a privilege to be able to make the surgery happen. I believe we’ve had a significant impact on her quality of life. Being able to see clearly is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.” – Maxine Holman, Flying for Life General Manager