IAPB Photo Competition Stories: Gezaw Sheferaw

Our photographer Ulrich Eigner's photos are featured by The World Sight Day IAPB Photo Competition.
Outreach, big group of people Credit: Ulrich Eigner

 Denzen Tera in the Amhara province of Ethiopia resides Gezaw Sheferaw. Gezaw is a farmer who cultivates vegetables, teff and other crops on his land to support his wife and their four children. Eleven years ago a splinter hit his right eye, with the injury gradually worsening his sight, until he was blind in his right eye.

Despite this, Gezaw was unable to access help due to lack of money and inability to take out time to travel so far to seek help at the Gonder Hospital. But news of a mobile eye care team from Gonder Hospital coming to a centre nearby finally presented him with an opportunity to seek treatment. Along with his brother-in-law who accompanied him to the hospital, Gezaw was told that the splinter had caused traumatic cataract and that surgery would restore his vision.

After the successful operation Gezaw was delighted to be able to make it home without any help. “Now I am regretting not seeking the treatment for such long time, but I am very glad for doing it now and pleased with the result,” he said. To Gezaw the restoration of his complete sight means getting back to his fertile land and being even more productive. There are only 150 ophthalmologists in Ethiopia. To address the need for comprehensive eye care, Light for the World supports thirteen eye clinics and six community based rehabilitation programmes in the country.

Having studied psychology in Austria and conceptual documentary photography in the United States Ulrich Eigner applies photography as a tool for the social exploration of the realities we construct and live in.

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