Three Reasons To Smile Today

Shakaina, Mildith, and Stephania are three sisters – triplets! – who live in Zambia with their mother, Bridget. The girls were diagnosed with strabismus — a condition that causes the eyes to look in different directions when focusing.

Growing up in Mufurila – a small town in the Copperbelt region of Zambia – everyday life for Shakaina, Mildith, and Stephania wasn’t always easy. Like most young girls, they dream of what they’ll do when they grow up and finish school.

Shekaina Mildith and Stephanie with their brave mom Bridget

Bridget and her three girls Shakaina, Mildith, and Stephania at their home in Mufurila

But their hypersensitivity to light meant that every day things – like playing outside in the sunshine and seeing the blackboard at school – were challenging for the triplets.

The girls' education and future independence was under threat. Even their safety was at risk, as girls and women with disabilities are at increased risk of violence and exploitation compared to their able-bodied peers.

Fortunately thanks to our wonderful donors and partners, the triplets' story has a very happy ending!

Bridget knew her daughters needed help, but she feared their eyes would be damaged by surgery or other treatments.

But like all parents, she wanted a better life for her children. So one day she overcame her fears and made the journey to an Orbis-supported hospital in Kitwe.

Making this brave decision meant the triplets got the sight-saving treatment they needed before it was too late – and Bridget no longer had to worry about her girls missing out on their education.

Bridget – the triplets' mom

Before the surgery, they used to be seg­re­gat­ed, but now my girls are able to play togeth­er with­out any problem.”

If not detected and treated early, strabismus can lead to severe vision loss. Children with the condition are often teased because their eyes can appear crossed – and sadly, that was true for Shakaina, Mildith, and Stephania.

“It was mostly friends and some elderly people who used to laugh at us,” Mildith explained. But after the three sisters received sight-restoring care, the stigma went away.

Now, the girls can fully participate at school, play with their friends and dream even bigger than before. Last year, our local Orbis team checked in with the family to see how they were doing – and they were thrilled to see how the triplets are thriving now they can see clearly.

Inspired by how the gift of healthy sight has expanded her daughters’ worlds, Bridget has become a local eye health advocate: “I am now encouraging my fellow parents to also go to the hospital. Some have already started taking their children, and they come to tell me that their children are now fine.”

It’s truly incredible to see how Bridget’s experience is having a ripple effect in her local community. Now more families can look forward to a brighter future!

Become a Partner in Sight

Of course, none of us this would be possible without our supporters – people just like you!

Thanks to our generous supporters, we are able to strengthen eye health systems across the globe through our training and community outreach programs. That’s the world you’re helping to build—one where mothers like Bridget can ensure a brighter future for their kids and access the eye care they deserve.

By making a monthly donation you could help transform children's lives with your gift.

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