CureBlindness | A Brave Girl Named Fathyia
Christopher Briscoe HCP Somaliland 2023 321
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A Brave Girl Named Fathyia

news | Somaliland | Jun 28, 2023

Fathyia, a strong and independent young woman from a remote area in Africa, lost her sight due to an eye injury. With the help of HCP, she underwent a life-changing 15-minute eye surgery and regained her vision, bringing back her radiant smile and renewing her hope for a brighter future. Fathyia's story is a testament to the transformative impact of HCP in providing vital eye care to underserved communities in Africa and other developing nations.

In March, HCP Cureblindness joined local and international teams to conduct a high-volume cataract surgical outreach at Hargeisa General Hospital in Hargeisa, Somaliland. The need for quality eye care in Somaliland is significant. This collaboration with Australian Doctors for Africa, DAK Foundation, and Takullo charity resulted in 303 cataract surgeries with the hope that this partnership model can help build surgical capacity in the country. Christopher Briscoe, renowned photographer and long-time HCP supporter, joined the team to capture photographs and stories of the outreach. Below is one of the many amazing stories he shared:

Story and Images by Christopher Briscoe


Field Notes

Being the eldest of five children, Fathyia was raised in the dry countryside beyond Hargeisa. Despite her humble origins, Fathyia has proved to be a strong and independent young woman.

Children like Fathyia, raised in the outskirts of developing nations, are often denied the opportunity to attend school. This was a resource that Fathyia was denied as well, and Fathyia was obligated to stay home and care for her siblings and family. But, without an education, day-to-day tasks outside of the daily routine her family endures can be extra intimidating.

Which is precisely what happened when the devastating drought, sweeping the nation, hit the homelands of Fathyia and surrounding tribes. Striking an even more vast climate for the family to work through. After the drought's impact took hold, the only possessions left to the family were two skinny goats.

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One day, while working through her daily routine, and chores, Fathyia sustained a terrible injury to her left eye. Little did she know that this injury would severely change her life forever.

As one can imagine, getting medical care in such a remote area is challenging, and recovering from blindness is next to impossible. Although, the procedure to save Fathyia's sight would take no more than 15 minutes and cost only $25 (USD).

Being on the outskirts of Hargeisa, Fathyia would have to travel by foot to the nearest hospital. Thankfully, her grandmother understood the importance of getting her to the hospital and seeing their possible options for Fathyia's future. Therefore, Fathyia and her grandmother made the long journey to the hospital.

The doctors working there quickly determined what Fathyia needed and guided her and her grandmother in the right direction. With HCP's free clinics throughout Africa, Fathyia could get on a list for free cataract surgery in Hargeisa.

When it came time for the surgery, a nervous, strong, and independent young Fathyia went to the table with hopes that she would leave with her sight.

Losing your sight takes away so much beauty in the world you once had. Although Fathyia didn't have much, she had the smiles of siblings, the hugs and kisses of her mother and grandmother, and most of all, the beauty of seeing the people she loved daily. When she lost her sight that day, she also lost her smile.

Thanks to the hard work of the medical professionals and their 15-minute eye surgery, Fathyia's eyesight and smile quickly returned after her bandages were removed.

This is just one of the stories and impacts that HCP has made in the remote areas of Ghana, Nepal, and Ethiopia.

All medical professionals working with HCP will tell you there is no better feeling than removing those bandages and noticing that a child can see again.

The smile that lights up their faces can't be found elsewhere. This is why the work that HCP does in Africa and other developing nations is so exponentially important. And this is why your support is so appreciated: you help people like Fathyia regain their sight and hope for a more promising, and happier future.

Renowned photographer Christopher Briscoe has accompanied HCP on several outreaches over the years. Read more of his field notes here: Somaliland 2023, Ethiopia 2020, HCP Storyteller Chris Briscoe.

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