Stories of Hope: Erick from Tanzania

At the early age of 12, a young boy named Erick Malekela started on a journey that would ultimately change the course of his life in the heart of Mlimba district council. Erick, who is currently in standard five, has been dealing with a serious and ongoing difficulty for the past three years: his eyesight.

Erick’s journey started some years ago on a normal trip to fetch water. In an unfortunate turn of events, a rubber projectile impaired his left eye, causing extreme pain. However, due to their lack of knowledge, the family sought treatment locally, hoping that time would heal his wounds. They had no idea that Erick’s condition would worsen over time.

As he progressed to standard four at the Mkangawalo primary school, Erick’s world was darkened. His left eye had lost sight as a result of the tragic incident. The lively intelligent child who had formerly delighted in the beauty of his surroundings was now living a blurry life.

In October 2021, a ray of hope came on the horizon for Erick and his family. A radio broadcast highlighted the upcoming ECF eye camp in Mlimba, a beacon of hope that promised to restore vision to those in need. The Malekela family wasted no time in preparing to transport Erick to the camp, determined to solve the mystery of his declining eyesight.

When they arrived at the camp, the doctors conducted a thorough examination of Erick’s eye. The diagnosis was clear: cataracts had formed, a consequence of the injury he had endured years ago. The road ahead seemed stressful, as Erick’s father – his guardian, residing in Mbingu, was separated from his son by a 50-kilometer distance.

However, the ECF eye camp team did not falter. They extended their support to assist Erick’s mother in convincing his father. After understanding the gravity of the situation, Erick’s father readily agreed to the doctors’ recommendations, paving the way for his son’s treatment.

Erick underwent a successful procedure during the eye camp. The surgery was a resounding success, and slowly but surely, Erick began to see the world in a new light. His once-dimmed eyes sparkled with the joy of newfound sight, and a radiant smile returned to his face.

Erick continued his scholastic adventure at Mkangawalo Primary School with a renewed passion for life, his sight restored. His tale illustrates the power of optimism and the impact of community-driven efforts that serve eyesight for a better life.

Picture 1,2,3: Erick and his mother at the eye camp in Mlimba district