Special report by Brian Doolan, CEO
Vietnam: My Linh can see well enough to go to school again thanks to The Foundation’s special 'Sight for Children' program in Vietnam.
Giving children a lifetime of sight
My Linh was born with cataracts in both her eyes and by Year 2 her sight was fading. Loan could hear her daughter crying at night.
Tears ran down Loan's cheeks as she talked about her daughter trying to study, and being unable to go outside and play with her friends.
"When I see that my daughter cannot keep up at school…but I can’t do anything for her,” she told me, “I am so sad."
My Linh and her family live in a remote village in southern Vietnam. In Year 3, My Linh got a new teacher who didn't know about her eye problems.
The teacher rearranged the children's desks and My Linh, a tall girl for her age, was seated at the back. From there, she couldn't even see the blackboard.
When My Linh tried to learn by reading what her friend had written down from the board, she was accused of copying and was scolded by the teacher. She was deeply embarrassed and upset.
By the second term of Year 3, My Linh was no longer able to keep up. She left school at the age of nine.
"I hope for My Linh is to not have a life of hardship and poverty like I have,” My Linh’s mother said. “I want her to have a brighter life."
My Linh lives with her mother, father and younger sister. My Linh's younger sister and her father were also born with cataracts in both eyes. Her parents work hard but are poor and have no money to spare.
Luckily for My Linh, her family heard about The Foundation’s special “Sight for Children” program in Vietnam.
The day came for My Linh’s operation.
"I have had sleepless days and nights...waiting for the surgery day to arrive," My Linh's mother told me.
Dr Phuong operated on both eyes at once, under general anaesthetic.
I’ve seen this operation many times now and I am still amazed by it – so quick and such an immediate impact.
The patches were taken off.
"I saw my mother's face looking at me and I was happy," My Linh said, smiling.
She was grinning from ear to ear as she turned to us, "I want to say thank you – my eyes see clearly. Thank you very much."
"Now my eyes are very clear. So please pass my thanks to all of the aunts and uncles who have helped me," she said, meaning all our Foundation supporters.
I asked My Linh what she wanted to do now she could see.
"I really want to go back to school. When I grow up I want to be a teacher," My Linh told me.
But first of all, she just wanted to get back home. "I am really looking forward to seeing my friends. I really want to play with them. To chase them and play hide and seek."
Thanks to our supporters, My Linh can see again.
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