Who was this young boy, the one leading with quiet confidence, one careful step after another?
Trailing behind him were his elderly blind relatives, a grandmother on the right and an uncle on the left, each was holding onto a stick under the boy’s arms. Without his help and those two sticks, they would be unable to walk independently, for they could not see the ground on which they stood.
The leadership example of that young Mexican lad can be eloquent testimony of how we might look anew at our mission. After our team evaluated the boy’s blind relatives, they experienced successful cataract surgery within the next couple of days. Their joy and gratitude were evident, for they could see again for the first time in many years. They could walk without help. With sight restored to even one eye, they have a great chance of returning to normal activities and being productive for their family and for their community.
It is a classic norm the world over that for each blind, disabled person, two other people are required to care for him or her. That means three people are lost from being productive and contributing to society.
What is also very dramatic is that this young Mexican boy was able to walk beside or even behind these relatives on the way home because he no longer needed to lead them. They were now free to walk alone with confidence, and the boy was free to walk by himself and return to his normal childhood activities of school and play.
Not only do we free the adults with the restoration of sight, but we also free their families, especially the children. This is all about freeing individuals. It’s freeing the children.
World statistics show that about 8-14% of all the world cataract blind are in the pediatric population. I think we should focus our own thinking, and certainly emphasize to our supporters, how important it is to help this segment of the cataract blind that are children. Also, it is important to help the adults who are in their care so that these ‘caregiver’ children may be free again.