Seven year old Esther lives with her parents in the Kyela District of Tanzania.
Since birth, Esther was unable to see well. She covered her eyes most of the times and wouldn’t look at people directly. When neighbours and relatives commented on this strange behaviour, her parents would say, “she is a shy little girl.” Her parents believed Esther would outgrow her shyness and odd habits.
When Esther joined Kyela Pre-Primary School, she met Teacher Mshana, who was amongst the teachers trained by the Seeing Is Believing’s Child Eye Health Project. Teacher Mshana noticed that Esther covered her eyes most of the time and was curious why she always did this.
“One day, I called the pupils to have their eyes screened and particularly targeted Esther. When I examined her, I noticed that she had a vision problem. I wrote a referral form and told her to bring her parents to school the following day, so that I could explain to them and direct them to the District Hospital for further examination,” teacher Mshana explained.
Esther’s father declined the meeting and said he had no time, because the only problem was Esther’s shyness, and she was not sick. Her father believed Esther would outgrow her shyness.
Esther’s mother, however, was very curious, so she met with teacher Mshana. When Esther’s mother was informed that her daughter could not see well, she was shocked and took her immediately to the District Hospital. Esther was examined and diagnosed with cataract which required surgery.
Treatment was free because it was supported by Seeing is Believing. She was operated on, and the cataract was removed.
Post-operation, Esther was issued with spectacles and she can now see well. She no longer covers her eyes and looks forward to a brighter future.