Paulo with his mother Imelda
Paulo with his mother Imelda

Paulo with his mother Imelda at their home in Peko Misegese Village, not far from Malali, Tanzania, 2016.

Paulo has a cataract in one eye.

Baraka with his mother Zena at home
Baraka with his mother Zena at home

Mkenge Village, near Morogoro, Tanzania, 2016.

The village in which they live, Mkenge, sits a short walk back from a narrow tarmac road; and is made up of a few 3 or 4 roomed mud brick houses clustered around a clearing dotted with trees.

Haji at home
Haji at home

Haji’s home, Tanzania, 2016.

Haji has a cataract in his right eye that has been impairing his vision since October 2015. His grandmother Elizabeth, who Haji lives with, along with his brothers, isn’t quite sure what happened to her grandson’s eye, because Haji was living with his mother at the time.

Magda with her mother Yulieta at home
Magda with her mother Yulieta at home

Mbili Village, Morogoro area, Tanzania, 2016.

Magdalena with mother Julieta. Magdalena has bi-lateral cataract. As well as this, she has had problems with her legs since birth, which means she cannot walk or crawl.

Breastfeeding Magda at home
Breastfeeding Magda at home

Mbili Village, Morogoro area, Tanzania, 2016.

Yulieta: “Immediately after the birth I noticed that the eyes were not normal. I looked in the pupils and found a white thing instead off a black dot – that’s when I realized something was not right. Although I have never had a child with cataract, I knew immediately it was a cataract. I asked the nurse about it but she told me that Magdalena just had a lot of swagger!”

Baraka on his mothers arms
Baraka on his mothers arms

Mkenge Village, near Morogoro, Tanzania, 2016.

Zena: “At the hospital they looked at him and they said they can’t do anything about it [the regional hospital doesn’t have the facilities to perform child cataract surgeries] so they referred me to Muhimbili [a hospital in Dar Es Salaam, approximately four hours by car] and they told me to go home and find some money to take him. When they told me that there was nothing they could do I felt very bad about it.”.

Dr. Ashraf
Dr. Ashraf

Mkenge Village, near Morogoro, Tanzania, 2016.

Dr. Ashraf, one of the doctors who travels across Tanzania in search of children who are either already suffering from cataract, or who are at risk of developing it.

Haji's eyes are tested
Haji's eyes are tested

HAji’s eye’s are tested by Dr. Ashraf as his father looks on, Haji’s home, Tanzania, 2016.

Approximately three-quarters of the estimated 1.4 million blind children in the world live in the poorest regions of Africa and Asia. Cataract is widely seen as something that affects older people, but in a lot of developing countries it’s a huge problem for children – they can be born with cataract or develop it as a result of an accident.

Haji at school
Haji at school

Haji doodles on a blackboard, Tanzania, 2016.

When he grows up, he says he wants to be a farmer like his dad,

Paulo's eyes are examined
Paulo's eyes are examined

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Imelda: “When Paulo was just two months old, we looked into his eyes and we could see something in the eye. We could tell that he couldn’t see, I don’t know how, but we could just tell. We have six children already, but nobody else has had eye problems. I was filled with sadness to realize Paulo could not see. I am sad that he cannot see my face.”.

Baraka & Zena leave home
Baraka & Zena leave home

Baraka and his mother leave home to head to Muhimbili Hospital in the capital Dar Es Salaam, Mkenge Village, near Morogoro, Tanzania, 2016.

In the ambulance
In the ambulance

Zena comforts her son Baraka as they sit in an ambulance which is on its way to Muhimbili Hospital in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital city, 2016.

Elizabeth, Imelda and Zena
Elizabeth, Imelda and Zena

From left to right: Elizabeth, Imelda and Zena share an ambulance which is on its way to Muhumbili Hospital in Tanzania’s capital, Dar Es Salaam, 2016. Paolo sits on his mother’s lap, while Haji and Baraka are seated off camera.

Waiting room
Waiting room

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Dr Nyaluke: “Coming to us is an issue. The families are afraid to travel long distances, coming to a big city like this. Even if they want to, even if they are not afraid they may have no transport, no money to make them come this far.”

Yuileta and Magda wait to be seen
Yuileta and Magda wait to be seen

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Yulieta: “Coming here has taught me a lot, and one of the things it has taught me is that I’m not alone, and that Magdalena’s not alone, and that there are so many people around. Talking to other mothers, it has taught me to be strong,”

Haji 's eyes are tested
Haji 's eyes are tested

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Magda's eyes are tested
Magda's eyes are tested

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Magdalena is 2 years old and has bi-lateral cataract. As well as this, she has Down’s Syndrome and has had problems with her legs since birth, which means she cannot walk or crawl.

Zena signs a document
Zena signs a document

Baraka looks on as his mother, Zena, signs a document related to her son’s operation, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Haji has his eyes tested again
Haji has his eyes tested again

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Hallway at Muhimbili Hospital
Hallway at Muhimbili Hospital

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Entrance to the O.R.
Entrance to the O.R.

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Waiting to be taken into surgery
Waiting to be taken into surgery

Zena and Baraka, Elizabeth and Haji, Imelda and Paulo, and Yulieta and Magdalena wait to be taken into the O.R, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Paulo & Baraka wait
Paulo & Baraka wait

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Haji waits
Haji waits

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Baraka in OR
Baraka in OR

Baraka cries as he is taken into the operating theatre, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Dr Nyaluke: “The difference between [cataracts in] adults and children is that adults can be done under local anaesthesia so we just give an injection, and after half an hour/45 mins it is done. But for children you have to give general anaesthesia so there are a lot of other things that come.”

Baraka falls asleep
Baraka falls asleep

Two surgical staff gently move Baraka onto the operating table, while the anaesthetist keeps the mask in place, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Dr Nyaluke: “With children you cannot predict the time – sometimes there is difficulty with intubation, sometimes you can’t find the vein. The operation can take half an hour or it can end up taking one hour or even one and a half hours – it is not predictable in children.”

Haji before surgery
Haji before surgery

Haji looks out from under his blanket as he waits for the anaesthetist to give him his anaesthetic, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Paulo before surgery
Paulo before surgery

Paulo is carried into the O.R. by a member of the surgical staff, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Paulo’s father, Nazaeli: “Paulo was named by me. I am a devoted Catholic and I read the Book of Acts. I remember Paul from the Book – a story where Paul has an encounter on the way to Damascus and he became blind for some time. I got the inspiration from the Book. What Paulo is going through now is just like the apostle Paul.”

Paulo before his surgery
Paulo before his surgery

Paulo is calmed down by a member of the surgical staff at Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

A drip attached to Paulo's hand
A drip attached to Paulo's hand

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Imelda and Elizabeth wait
Imelda and Elizabeth wait

Paulo’s mother, Imelda and Haji’s grandmother, Elizabeth, wait for the surgeries to wrap up, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Elizabeth watches over her grandson
Elizabeth watches over her grandson

Elizabeth touches her grandson, Haji, as he slowly wakes up from the general anaesthesia after his cataract operation, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Paulo after surgery
Paulo after surgery

A member of the surgical staff carries Paulo out of the O.R., Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Everyone returns to the ward
Everyone returns to the ward

Zena and Baraka, Elizabeth and Haji, Imelda and Paulo, and Yulieta and Magdalena make their way back to the ward after the cataract operations, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Magda's
Magda's

Magda’s surgery is delayed, as more tests need to be done. Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

There is a genuine worry that the surgery might not happen at all. In the end, Magda was operated on a couple of days later.

Haji the day after surgery
Haji the day after surgery

Elizabeth sits next to her grandson as they wait to have Haji’s eye inspected following his cataract surgery the previous day, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Baraka & Zena on the ward
Baraka & Zena on the ward

Baraka’s cataract were removed succesfully, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Final checks
Final checks

An opthalmologist administers some last minute eye drops to Haji’s eye, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Baraka back home
Baraka back home

His eye sight fully restored, Baraka laughs as he sees a relative Mkenge Village, near Morogoro, Tanzania, 2016.

Returning home
Returning home

Paulo & Imelda return home after a successful surgery, Peko Misegese Village, not far from Malali, Tanzania, 2016.

Haji & Elizabeth are home
Haji & Elizabeth are home

Haji and his grandmother, Elizabeth return home after a successful surgery, Tanzania, 2016.

Paulo with his mother Imelda
Baraka with his mother Zena at home
Haji at home
Magda with her mother Yulieta at home
Breastfeeding Magda at home
Baraka on his mothers arms
Dr. Ashraf
Haji's eyes are tested
Haji at school
Paulo's eyes are examined
Baraka & Zena leave home
In the ambulance
Elizabeth, Imelda and Zena
Waiting room
Yuileta and Magda wait to be seen
Haji 's eyes are tested
Magda's eyes are tested
Zena signs a document
Haji has his eyes tested again
Hallway at Muhimbili Hospital
Entrance to the O.R.
Waiting to be taken into surgery
Paulo & Baraka wait
Haji waits
Baraka in OR
Baraka falls asleep
Haji before surgery
Paulo before surgery
Paulo before his surgery
A drip attached to Paulo's hand
Imelda and Elizabeth wait
Elizabeth watches over her grandson
Paulo after surgery
Everyone returns to the ward
Magda's
Haji the day after surgery
Baraka & Zena on the ward
Final checks
Baraka back home
Returning home
Haji & Elizabeth are home
Paulo with his mother Imelda

Paulo with his mother Imelda at their home in Peko Misegese Village, not far from Malali, Tanzania, 2016.

Paulo has a cataract in one eye.

Baraka with his mother Zena at home

Mkenge Village, near Morogoro, Tanzania, 2016.

The village in which they live, Mkenge, sits a short walk back from a narrow tarmac road; and is made up of a few 3 or 4 roomed mud brick houses clustered around a clearing dotted with trees.

Haji at home

Haji’s home, Tanzania, 2016.

Haji has a cataract in his right eye that has been impairing his vision since October 2015. His grandmother Elizabeth, who Haji lives with, along with his brothers, isn’t quite sure what happened to her grandson’s eye, because Haji was living with his mother at the time.

Magda with her mother Yulieta at home

Mbili Village, Morogoro area, Tanzania, 2016.

Magdalena with mother Julieta. Magdalena has bi-lateral cataract. As well as this, she has had problems with her legs since birth, which means she cannot walk or crawl.

Breastfeeding Magda at home

Mbili Village, Morogoro area, Tanzania, 2016.

Yulieta: “Immediately after the birth I noticed that the eyes were not normal. I looked in the pupils and found a white thing instead off a black dot – that’s when I realized something was not right. Although I have never had a child with cataract, I knew immediately it was a cataract. I asked the nurse about it but she told me that Magdalena just had a lot of swagger!”

Baraka on his mothers arms

Mkenge Village, near Morogoro, Tanzania, 2016.

Zena: “At the hospital they looked at him and they said they can’t do anything about it [the regional hospital doesn’t have the facilities to perform child cataract surgeries] so they referred me to Muhimbili [a hospital in Dar Es Salaam, approximately four hours by car] and they told me to go home and find some money to take him. When they told me that there was nothing they could do I felt very bad about it.”.

Dr. Ashraf

Mkenge Village, near Morogoro, Tanzania, 2016.

Dr. Ashraf, one of the doctors who travels across Tanzania in search of children who are either already suffering from cataract, or who are at risk of developing it.

Haji's eyes are tested

HAji’s eye’s are tested by Dr. Ashraf as his father looks on, Haji’s home, Tanzania, 2016.

Approximately three-quarters of the estimated 1.4 million blind children in the world live in the poorest regions of Africa and Asia. Cataract is widely seen as something that affects older people, but in a lot of developing countries it’s a huge problem for children – they can be born with cataract or develop it as a result of an accident.

Haji at school

Haji doodles on a blackboard, Tanzania, 2016.

When he grows up, he says he wants to be a farmer like his dad,

Paulo's eyes are examined

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Imelda: “When Paulo was just two months old, we looked into his eyes and we could see something in the eye. We could tell that he couldn’t see, I don’t know how, but we could just tell. We have six children already, but nobody else has had eye problems. I was filled with sadness to realize Paulo could not see. I am sad that he cannot see my face.”.

Baraka & Zena leave home

Baraka and his mother leave home to head to Muhimbili Hospital in the capital Dar Es Salaam, Mkenge Village, near Morogoro, Tanzania, 2016.

In the ambulance

Zena comforts her son Baraka as they sit in an ambulance which is on its way to Muhimbili Hospital in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital city, 2016.

Elizabeth, Imelda and Zena

From left to right: Elizabeth, Imelda and Zena share an ambulance which is on its way to Muhumbili Hospital in Tanzania’s capital, Dar Es Salaam, 2016. Paolo sits on his mother’s lap, while Haji and Baraka are seated off camera.

Waiting room

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Dr Nyaluke: “Coming to us is an issue. The families are afraid to travel long distances, coming to a big city like this. Even if they want to, even if they are not afraid they may have no transport, no money to make them come this far.”

Yuileta and Magda wait to be seen

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Yulieta: “Coming here has taught me a lot, and one of the things it has taught me is that I’m not alone, and that Magdalena’s not alone, and that there are so many people around. Talking to other mothers, it has taught me to be strong,”

Haji 's eyes are tested

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Magda's eyes are tested

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Magdalena is 2 years old and has bi-lateral cataract. As well as this, she has Down’s Syndrome and has had problems with her legs since birth, which means she cannot walk or crawl.

Zena signs a document

Baraka looks on as his mother, Zena, signs a document related to her son’s operation, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Haji has his eyes tested again

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Hallway at Muhimbili Hospital

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Entrance to the O.R.

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Waiting to be taken into surgery

Zena and Baraka, Elizabeth and Haji, Imelda and Paulo, and Yulieta and Magdalena wait to be taken into the O.R, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Paulo & Baraka wait

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Haji waits

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Baraka in OR

Baraka cries as he is taken into the operating theatre, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Dr Nyaluke: “The difference between [cataracts in] adults and children is that adults can be done under local anaesthesia so we just give an injection, and after half an hour/45 mins it is done. But for children you have to give general anaesthesia so there are a lot of other things that come.”

Baraka falls asleep

Two surgical staff gently move Baraka onto the operating table, while the anaesthetist keeps the mask in place, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Dr Nyaluke: “With children you cannot predict the time – sometimes there is difficulty with intubation, sometimes you can’t find the vein. The operation can take half an hour or it can end up taking one hour or even one and a half hours – it is not predictable in children.”

Haji before surgery

Haji looks out from under his blanket as he waits for the anaesthetist to give him his anaesthetic, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Paulo before surgery

Paulo is carried into the O.R. by a member of the surgical staff, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Paulo’s father, Nazaeli: “Paulo was named by me. I am a devoted Catholic and I read the Book of Acts. I remember Paul from the Book – a story where Paul has an encounter on the way to Damascus and he became blind for some time. I got the inspiration from the Book. What Paulo is going through now is just like the apostle Paul.”

Paulo before his surgery

Paulo is calmed down by a member of the surgical staff at Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

A drip attached to Paulo's hand

Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Imelda and Elizabeth wait

Paulo’s mother, Imelda and Haji’s grandmother, Elizabeth, wait for the surgeries to wrap up, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Elizabeth watches over her grandson

Elizabeth touches her grandson, Haji, as he slowly wakes up from the general anaesthesia after his cataract operation, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Paulo after surgery

A member of the surgical staff carries Paulo out of the O.R., Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Everyone returns to the ward

Zena and Baraka, Elizabeth and Haji, Imelda and Paulo, and Yulieta and Magdalena make their way back to the ward after the cataract operations, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Magda's

Magda’s surgery is delayed, as more tests need to be done. Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

There is a genuine worry that the surgery might not happen at all. In the end, Magda was operated on a couple of days later.

Haji the day after surgery

Elizabeth sits next to her grandson as they wait to have Haji’s eye inspected following his cataract surgery the previous day, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Baraka & Zena on the ward

Baraka’s cataract were removed succesfully, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Final checks

An opthalmologist administers some last minute eye drops to Haji’s eye, Muhimbili Hospital, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, 2016.

Baraka back home

His eye sight fully restored, Baraka laughs as he sees a relative Mkenge Village, near Morogoro, Tanzania, 2016.

Returning home

Paulo & Imelda return home after a successful surgery, Peko Misegese Village, not far from Malali, Tanzania, 2016.

Haji & Elizabeth are home

Haji and his grandmother, Elizabeth return home after a successful surgery, Tanzania, 2016.

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