Macarthur generosity helps Kenyan boy gain sight

Donations from Macarthur residents have helped a young Kenyan gain the ability to see for the first time.

People in Campbelltown donated more than $63,000 to the Fred Hollows Foundation in the 2018 financial year, allowing the Australian charity to deliver much-needed optical care to patients around the world.

The foundation performed 929,106 eye operations and treatments in 2018, including to eight-year-old rural Kenyan boy Samuel.

Samuel, who had relied on his twin brother John his entire life, was one of more than 8000 children in Kenyan who are needlessly blind.

Samuel and his twin brother, John, have been inseparable since birth.

But there was one massive difference between the two - Samuel couldn't see.

John always took care of Samuel. He led Samuel hand-in-hand as they walked to school each day and sat next to him in class to write notes so his brother wouldn't fall behind.

John would always pick Samuel up when he fell, pull him away from the fire when he got too close and helped him at school when he couldn't see the blackboard.

Now, thanks to funds and hard work from the Fred Hollows Foundation, Samuel can see and no longer needs to rely on John to complete daily tasks.

Fred Hollows Foundation founding director Gabi Hollows thanked the Macarthur community for its support and encouraged locals to give whatever they could to help keep Fred's vision alive.

"I would like to thank each and every person who has helped us change the lives of many millions of the world's poorest people who are living with avoidable blindness," Ms Hollows said.

"There are still 36 million people in the world who are blind and four out of five of them don't need to be - their blindness is preventable or treatable.

"Fred once said: 'The alternative is to do nothing - and that's not an alternative'. So I hope people will help us continue Fred's inspiring work."

Fred Hollows Foundation chief executive Ian Wishart said the organisation's results demonstrate its commitment to creating long-term and sustainable solutions for those trapped in poverty by avoidable blindness.

"The number of people who are blind is set to triple over the next 30 years, so it is crucial we continue our sight-saving work," Mr Wishart said.

"One of the most effective ways to do this is by training local doctors, nurses, community workers and teachers in eye health, in the places where they are most needed, just as Fred did."

The Fred Hollows Foundation has trained 59,207 eye surgeons, nurses, community health workers and teachers to continue Fred's legacy.

To help The Fred Hollows Foundation continue its work, donate at www.hollows.org, call 1800 352 352 or text your name to 0457 555 755.