Your kindness brightened the lives of siblings with strabismus

Brother and sister Gabriel and Zipporah, from Zambia, both had strabismus, a misalignment of the eyes, which made learning and socializing at school challenging. Thanks to generous supporters like you, the pair had sight-correcting surgery on our latest Flying Eye Hospital project and can now look forward to a future of healthy sight.

The eldest Gabriel, already a talented soccer player at the age of nine, had undergone his first strabismus surgery at a local eye clinic in Lusaka — without success. Unfortunately, his condition progressed into both eyes. The sibling's father grew more concerned when he saw he was falling behind at school by regularly missing out letters when copying down notes from the blackboard

Gabriel's vision problems caused him to fall behind at school.

Meanwhile, Zipporah, 7, was teased and called names because of her pronounced strabismus, which was deeply upsetting for her and her family. Her dad would often comfort her saying: “No dear, one day you will be fine. When your friends are laughing at you, just tell them, no, my dad is doing something about this.

Zipporah's was teased over her strabismus.

The family wanted nothing more than for the siblings’ eyes to be assessed and their vision corrected, so when our Flying Eye Hospital came to Lusaka in the fall of 2023, the family began to get their hopes up.

Our amazing Volunteer Faculty member, Dr. Andrea Molinari, a world-renowned pediatric strabismus expert, from Quito, Ecuador, selected the duo for life-changing surgery. Ahead of surgery, our fluffy little mascot, Seymour the Bear was gifted to Zipporah by the Orbis team. The quiet little girl held on to Seymour throughout the process and would whisper into his ears and wrap his fluffy arms around her neck for comfort.

Zipporah cuddles Seymour the Bear for comfort ahead of her surgery.

As the two underwent surgery at our partner University Teaching Hospital, local eye doctors observed and assisted Dr. Molinari to improve their skills and knowledge and provide better care to more children and adults across Zambia. Both surgeries were a success, and now that Gabriel and Zipporah have had their sight restored, they can reach their full potential and realize their dreams of becoming a surgeon and a doctor.

First and foremost, I just want to say thank you to your Orbis team and supporters. The way you've come here, you are doing such a good job. Please just keep doing what you're doing. And I hope you train more and impart more knowledge to the doctors and the nurses here in Zambia. I really appreciate the work you are doing.” said the sibling’s dad.

We would like to echo his words and say a huge thank you to all our wonderful supporters and partners. With your steadfast support, we can continue to work with eye teams around the globe and reach more people with the best possible eye care.

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Help children like Gabriel and Zipporah get the access to eye care they need to thrive.

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