People and prosperity

Seeing for the first time: one boy’s story

This World Sight Day, we share how Criscent Bwambale’s world opened up in the blink of an operation

Criscent was just a baby when he was diagnosed with blinding cataract. He was referred for an operation, but his family couldn’t afford the journey to the hospital. This was bad news for Criscent.  Children with cataract need surgery quickly, as the chances of having their sight restored decreases dramatically after the age of seven.

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Luckily, when Criscent was six, his grandmother, Safuroza, heard about an eye-screening campaign on the radio. “I was so happy and thankful when they said transport and operation would be paid for,” she said.

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Thanks to the Sightsavers-supported project in Uganda – funded by Standard Chartered through its Seeing is Believing programme – Criscent was taken to the hospital and was finally able to have the surgery he so desperately needed – all for free.

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After Criscent’s bandages were removed, he was almost unrecognisable. The once painfully timid young boy, who had clung to any object within reach, was now running around and playing fearlessly.

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Simple activities are new experiences for Criscent. His sister, Sylvia, shows him around their garden, teaching him about flowers.

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Since the surgery Criscent’s life has new meaning. He can now attend school, opening his world to new opportunities. His grandmother wants him to become a nurse, but Criscent says he wants to become a doctor.


This project managed to reach Criscent in time, but many thousands more are still in need of help. Donate to Standard Chartered’s Seeing is Believing programme today to help restore sight to more children like Criscent.

All photos by Tommy Trenchard/Sightsavers