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A view for a view

Every person watching the video in this article enables a little child like Walakifina to recover their eyesight.
Walakifina: mother and daughter

Every minute, somewhere in the world, a child goes blind; and one person loses his/her eyesight every five seconds. And, shockingly, for most it - in 81% of all cases – adequate treatment and care could have prevented this tragic fate from happening. Begin November, the Belgian NGO Light for the World visited the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre and the villages around Moshi, in Tanzania, with photographer Jef Boes, in order to document on film the different aspects of the issue concerned. Today we are launching the campaign “a view for a view”, a touching series of videos and photos, the goal being to open the public’s eyes and raise public awareness about avoidable blindness.

A view for a view 

The video and photographic reportage “a view for a view” captures on film the story of Walakifina, a 3-months-old baby girl who was born blind. After a sight-saving operation which could be performed thanks to a donation, she was able to see her mother and her surroundings for the first time. Saving eyesight requires no more than 52 euro. Every person watching, sharing or liking the video generates more donations and enables a little girl like Walakfina to recover her eyesight, to live in dignity and to welcome a better future. The more people that watch the video, the more sight-saving surgeries local ophthalmol-ogists will be able to perform with the support of Light for the World.

Watch the video now and save eyesight.

Through the lens of Jef Boes

“Filming in Tanzania has been an intense experience, to say the least”, that’s what a smiling Jef Boes tells us. “The harsh reality overtook us from the very first moments we spent with the families, and it didn’t let go until we went home. I have been able to stay with the families every step of the way, from the moment they heard the diagnosis, over the difficult journey to the hospital, the surgery up to the removal of the eye bandage. But the moment they really got to experience the recovery of their eyesight, implying regaining hope for a better future, that’s what really touched me personally. As a photographer and filmmaker, the sense of sight is the most important human sense for me, meaning that blindness hurts me in my very soul.”

Cataract: a leading cause of blindness 

90% of the estimated 36 million blind people around the world, are living in a poverty-stricken country. Almost half of all cases of blindness are attributed to cataract, a clouding of the eye lens. The patients’ eyesight could be restored with a relatively simple surgery taking no more than 15 minutes in an adult and 60 minutes in a child. In Belgium, ophthalmologists perform 125,000 routine cataract surgeries every year but, in developing countries, many patients do not have access to eye care in general, and eye surgeries in particular. And to determinant factors such as poverty and the lack of adequate infrastructure, we must add ignorance and superstition which put a taboo on blindness and visual impairment, explaining that no more than 10% of all visually impaired children have access to education.

“Jef Boes’ impressive images illustrate the hard work of local health care professionals who are endeavouring to bring eye care to the most remote areas. ‘A view for a view’ sheds light on a widespread condition but one that can be overcome. The campaign literally and figuratively speaking is helping to open eyes”, says Isabelle Verhaegen, director of Light for the World.