Degnesh’s story highlights the importance of eye care

During a surgical outreach at Wolaita Sodo University in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region, Ethiopia, HCP’s medical teams encountered 25-year old Degnesh, whose story captures the joy of restored sight & renewed hope and the vital importance of eye care.

When Degnesh was a child, her village gave her the nickname “Gedebis” or “unlucky woman,” because her mother had died during her birth. She grew up with her father, stepmother, and two step-sisters, but was unable to continue her education after grade 10 due to family and economic struggles. In order to support herself, she travelled to Yemen to work as a maid. Unfortunately, after working for only six months, her eyesight started failing, and it eventually deteriorated such that she could no longer work and her employer deported her back to Ethiopia without payment.

Back in her village, Degnesh began to lose hope and entered a period of depression over the next five years. Her father took her to a health center, but he found that any potential eye surgery was beyond their family’s financial capacity.

Earlier this year, a village leader alerted the family of the upcoming HCP cataract outreach at Sodo Wolaita Hospital. Degnesh was very nervous during her surgeries but felt excitement at the possibility of getting her vision back, particularly as she could hear that celebration from those around her whose sight had been successfully restored. When it was her turn to have her patches removed, it took her a moment to realize she could see again. Degnesh then celebrated her change of fortune with exuberance! With her vision restored, Degnesh is looking forward to working again, helping her father and making him proud.

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