Baraka’s story – A miracle journey

Baraka’s story – A miracle journey

Meet Baraka (pictured), the endearing two-year-old who is adored by all in his village. Baraka loves nothing more than a good cuddle, and people love giving them to him! Although he can navigate short distances, Baraka is unable to see the faces of the people who respond so delightedly to his hug demands, including his own Mother. Why? Little Baraka has cataracts.

Baraka’s Mother, Zena Salum Ally, noticed a problem with her son’s sight a year ago “Baraka plays less than other children; he does walk around but most of the time he keeps himself [near] the walls and sometimes he falls and hurts himself.”

Cataract is often something we associate with older people not children, but it can affect those of any age. And developing cataracts as a child can leave your sight at risk of never properly developing. In all cases surgery needs to happen as soon as possible and if a child is still affected by the age of seven, the chances of vision being improved following surgery decreases dramatically.

Baraka sits on his mother's lap at their home in Tanzania.

Zena could see that Baraka’s sight was deteriorating, “he’s never had a serious accident, but one time when he was walking around and there was a tree just in front of him, because he can’t see he just walked straight and he cut his eye.”

Worried for her son, Zena desperately tried to get medical help. Eventually Baraka was diagnosed with bilateral cataract (cataracts in both his eyes), he was referred to the regional hospital but unfortunately they didn’t have the facilities there to perform child cataract surgery. So despite knowing what the problem was, she had no choice but to take Baraka home without treatment.

Why a child cataract operation costs 500kr:
– Operating on such a small patient requires general anaesthetic to stop movement and pain;
– it takes longer for little ones to recover, so they often have to stay overnight;
– add this to specialist surgical supplies, equipment and staff training – the costs soon mount up.

Baraka looks distressed with his mother while getting diagnosed.

His mother felt defeated, “I came home and I was very sad, I felt there was no hope for his future.”

Zena is unable to earn for her family. Instead she stays at home and looks after little Baraka all day. At such a young age and with his impaired vision, he is in constant danger of hurting himself.

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