6 ways you helped us improve lives in 2019

Thanks to the support of partners and people like you, we were able to reach out to even more communities last year, transforming lives in the process.
A woman in Africa puts her arm around a little girl wearing an eye patch. Both are smiling at one another. (c) Light for the World

At Light for the World, we do everything we can to shape a better future for generations to come. Last year, we reached more than a million people with our work. From making learning more accessible to enabling sight-restoring surgery, we made it possible for people with disabilities to live their lives with greater independence and dignity.

That we were able to do this at all was down to you. With your help, we were able to achieve tangible successes. Here are just six of them. 

1. More than 1 million people received eye health, education & rehabilitation  

We supported 1,235,650 people around the world. We did this by providing eye care, education and rehabilitation in 15 countries, including Uganda, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, India, Cambodia and Bolivia. Our commitment to bolstering eye health also means equipping people in-country with the knowledge and skills to identify and treat eye conditions. To that end, we trained a new generation of ophthalmologists in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Mozambique. 

2. 12.6 million doses of medication were distributed

We helped push back against trachoma, river blindness and lymphatic filariasis in Ethiopia by providing 12.6 million doses of medication to people there. Also in Ethiopia, we’re helping to totally eradicate trachoma, the most widespread among infectious causes of blindness in the world. 

3. 68,000 eye operations were carried out

We helped tens of thousands of people regain or preserve their eyesight through cataract, trachoma and other eye surgeries. Kameru (pictured) was one of those thousands. “I must be able to see again, to care for my husband and me, there is nobody else,” she told us. Her hopes were made real when one of our ophthalmic outreach teams came to her area and surgery restored her sight. 

Wearing an eye patch following surgery, Kameru smiles while tending to her crops. (c) Light for the World

4. More than 45,000 people with disabilities got rehabilitation

We reached a total of 45,552 people with disabilities through community-based programmes supporting their inclusion. We provided care in people’s homes, made sure children and young people were included in our programmes, and took a whole-community approach to subverting prejudices against people with disabilities

5. More than 15,000 people got their independence back

We helped 15,319 adults get job training and earn an income. Women and girls with disabilities are a particular focus as they often face double discrimination. At Light for the World, we’re actively addressing this imbalance by targeting our empowerment programme directly at women and girls. 

6. Just under 14,000 children with disabilities were able to go to school 

More than 32 million children with disabilities in low and middle-income countries are currently out of school. The odds are even worse when the child is a girl or from an ethnic minority background. We’re trying to change this. Through our rehabilitation projects, we support children with disabilities to stay in school in thirteen countries. We work with governments, train teachers and provide appropriate learning materials.  One of the children we reached was Barnita from North India (pictured). Born without a fully formed right leg, Barnita’s condition made it very difficult for her to move around. With our help, however, Barnita received surgery to fit an artificial leg, enrolled in school and is enjoying her childhood and learning. She was one of just under 14,000 children with disabilities who we helped to go to school in 2019. 

Our work continues. Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we have adjusted our programmes to reach the most vulnerable and keep them safe. Through the determination and support of our partners and staff, we will keep pushing for a world where people with disabties can live with dignity and autonomy and eye health is accessible for all. 

Barnita grins as she stands in front of a blackboard at her school. (c) Light for the World