Shekaina Mildith and Stephanie on their way to school

Big Career Ambitions for Unstoppable Girls

Did you know that blindness disproportionately affects women and girls? To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’re reflecting on progress toward gender equality through the stories of some young women with big ambitions for their futures. Thanks to supporters like you, impaired vision no longer stands in their way, and their dreams are in reach!

Sneha's Glasses Help Her See Her Career Goals

We met a determined young woman named Sneha on the day that she received her first pair of glasses. The glasses had been prescribed during a screening at her school two weeks earlier. Sneha picked them out herself and couldn’t wait to start wearing them!

When we visited Sneha at home, it was evident where her enthusiasm stemmed from. Her grandmother remarked: “Spectacles don’t affect anybody’s appearance. Getting clear vision is more important than anybody’s beauty or appearance. If you are beautiful, but you do not have vision, what does it matter?” We couldn’t agree more!

Sneha's new glasses will help her achieve her goals.

An enthusiastic student, Sneha already knows exactly what she wants to do in her future—become a bank manager. Before receiving her glasses, she struggled to see the blackboard, was forced to copy from her friends’ notebooks so that she didn’t fall behind, and started to worry about her future.

Now, with her sight (and confidence!) restored, Sneha is well on her way to reaching her dreams!

Blindness Is a Gender Issue

Globally, there are 112 million more women living with vision loss than men. The reasons vary across communities, but lack of education, difficulty accessing finances, and inability to travel often contribute to this devastating trend.

At Orbis, it’s part of our mission to create a world where everyone has equal access to eye care. Without supporters like you, it would be impossible to ensure that women and girls have access to high quality eye care and to end cycles of poverty around the world.

Donate Today

Your gift will help create equal access to eye care.

A brighter future for girls is a brighter future for our planet!

Your support not only means more women and girls have healthy sight. It also means they can thrive in school, at work, at home, in their communities, and contribute to our economies—a critical step toward global gender equality.

A Step Closer to the Police Academy for Khushi

During a recent visit to Nepal, we met a young girl named Khushi. She had come for an eye screening thanks to the insistence of her friend, Rani, who knew Khushi had suffered from blurred vision and debilitating headaches. Khushi’s screening found that she was suffering from a refractive error, and would need to return for follow-up care. But on the day of the appointment, Khushi did not turn up.

When a staff member, Abhishek, noticed Khushi’s absence, he visited her at home and learned that Khushi’s grandmother was concerned that wearing glasses would hinder Khushi’s marriage prospects and had refused to allow her to return for the screening. This is another gender-related barrier to eye care that women may face disproportionately.

With the help of her glasses, Khushi hopes to join the police academy.

Abhishek persuaded Khushi’s grandmother that clear vision is crucial to securing Khushi’s future and will make it possible for her to excel in school. With a new understanding of the benefits of corrected vision, Khushi’s grandmother encouraged her to get her eyes screened, along with a new pair of glasses. Now, Khushi is excelling at school, spending time with friends and family, and making big plans for her future career!

“I want to join the police academy after my studies. In my village, no girl is allowed to study past 10th or 12th standard and we are forced to get married. I want to show my relatives and community that girls can also work and earn a living.” —Khushi

Fun-Loving Triplets Today—Nurses & Teachers Tomorrow!

Shekaina, Mildith, and Stephania are three sisters—triplets!—who live in Zambia with their mother, Bridget. All three girls were born with strabismus, a condition that causes the eyes to look in different directions when focusing. Everyday activities like seeing the blackboard in school, playing outside in the sun, and watching TV caused constant pain for the girls.

Without treatment, the triplets would suffer permanent vision loss. Instead of succeeding in school and pursuing their dreams, the triplets risked facing a lifetime of limited freedom and opportunities. Like many parents, Bridget wanted her kids to have a better life.

She took Shekaina, Mildith, and Stephania to a local Orbis-supported hospital where the triplets received the surgery they needed at an Orbis-supported hospital—changing their lives forever.

Bridget is so happy for her daughters' clear sight.

We checked in with the family recently, and Shekaina, Mildith, and Stephania were thriving! All three girls now have exciting and important visions for their futures. Shekaina used to struggle with double vision. Now, she loves to read and her favorite subjects are math and English. Stephania enjoys playing netball and wants to be a teacher when she grows up. Mildith, who insisted that her sisters get their surgeries before she did, likes English and science and dreams of becoming a nurse.

“I struggled to see what was on the board in class. After surgery I can now see clearly whether I sit at the back or the front in class.” —Stephania

From the Flying Eye Hospital to a Nonprofit Career for Savynna

Like many young girls, Savynna was full of energy. She enjoyed singing and dancing and loved sports—but her strabismus threatened to take that away from her. Despite wearing her glasses every day, her condition wasn't getting any better and she began getting bullied at school.

Savynna waits for surgery on our Flying Eye Hospital to correct her squint

Savynna on board the Flying Eye Hospital.

That all changed when Savynna received sight-saving surgery performed by a long-time Orbis volunteer doctor, Rudy Wagner, on the Flying Eye Hospital in Barbados. After the surgery, Savynna told us: “The girls and boys used to call me ‘cross eyes’ but now they can’t because my eyes are straight!”

Just like Sneha, Khushi, Shakaina, Mildith, and Stephania—Savynna can now see her bright future clearly! She hopes to pay it forward one day by working for a non-profit and helping others in her country.

Help More Girls See Their Potential

We’re so excited to see what these exceptional young women do in their futures. Now that their sight has been saved—thanks to Orbis supporters—they are unstoppable!

You can help even more women succeed in their education and careers and support themselves and their families by donating this International Women's Day. Your gift will help restore vision and hope—and open doors to safer, more prosperous, and brighter futures—for girls, women, families, and communities around the world.

Donate Today

Your gift will help create equal access to eye care for more girls around the world!

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