SeeKenya is a UK-based charity working to reduce blindness and provide specialist treatment and eye care services to marginalised communities in Kenya. With more than 95% of Kenyans living without access to eye care, there is a desperate need for help.
Working with church partners, SeeKenya are able to provide basic eye drops for the treatment of trachoma, which is the leading form of infectious blindness in children. They also perform cataract surgery and supply pairs of ready-made glasses to those who need them.
The work of SeeKenya is led by Haywards Heath-based Pete and Rachel Marson. After a visit to Kenya in 2010, Pete was deeply affected by the widespread poverty and the inaccessibility of eye care services.
Following the trip, Pete made the decision to use his skills as an optometrist to lead volunteers help the poorest communities in Kenya – the charity has a clinic, working in the poorest regions of Meru and Samburu, north of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.
SeeKenya became a registered charity in May 2013 – Pete, Rachel and their three children are all members of the King’s Church Mid Sussex and see their work as an important part of their Christian faith.
Sadly, more than three million people are classified as blind, simply because they do not have access to a pair of glasses. This issue can seriously affect their livelihood and their ability to live and support their families.
Statistically, women are at a higher risk of becoming visually impaired. There are currently 10,000 blind children in Kenya, and this problem could have been avoided with basic eye drops.
Avoidable blindness is an issue that affects the whole community – for many, going blind can mean the end of their education, job – and in turn, livelihood and independence – meaning they will be less able to provide for their families and the communities that support them.
By building relationships with the local people, SeeKenya aims to help educate communities about the importance of eye health, especially in children. Poor eyesight, not just blindness, impacts on a child’s ability to read a chalkboard or a book and has a huge impact on their education. By using basic eye drops, adolescent blindness will reduce, and 40% of the causes are preventable and treatable.
Just £3.00 can provide eye drops to prevent blindness in 10 children, £20.00 can buy glasses for seven people, and £60.00 can pay for a cataract operation. If you would like to give the gift of sight and improve a person’s life, there are many ways you can donate and fundraise.
In November 2016 Pete and Rachel’s son Joel, organised a tea party which was streamed on Facebook Live. But this was not any old tea party – many viewers watched in anticipation, a once blonde Joel revealed his newly dyed, flamboyant pink hair! Exceeding his target and raising more than £700.00, Joel’s effort has contributed to the incredible difference that this charity is doing.[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=”600″]For more information about SeeKenya, visit: www.seekenya.org, or visit the charity’s JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/seekenya[/box]
By Georgia Lambert