Siafy's story

Siafy's story

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Siafy had cataracts in both eyes for over thirty years. Thanks to sight-saving surgery, he can go back to providing for his family.

Siafy is a 79-year-old sago maker from a remote area in Papua New Guinea. As the main provider for the family, he worked hard to support his wife and seven children. But for over 30 years, Siafy has not been able to work or enjoy some of his favourite pastimes due to developing cataracts in both eyes.

In 1992, Siafy's world changed dramatically when he developed cataracts. As the condition progressed, simple joys like reading and seeing the smile on his wife Loku’s face slipped away. The loss extended beyond his favourite pastimes, it robbed him of his livelihood. Siafy, skilled in making sago — a staple food in Papua New Guinea — could no longer work, pushing Loku into the role of sole provider while he struggled with daily tasks.

"When I lost my eyesight, it was very difficult"

Siafy recalls

"My wife is a very strong woman for supporting the family while I couldn’t see."

Access to eye care in Papua New Guinea remains a critical issue. The country faces one of the highest rates of preventable blindness in the Pacific, worsened by a severe shortage of eye care specialists. Dr. Alice Irafa, supported by The Foundation and Pacific partners, explains the dire situation: "We simply don’t have enough eye care workers in our country to treat preventable blindness."

For Siafy, the chance of restoring his sight seemed distant. Even a routine cataract surgery, readily available in many parts of the world, was beyond reach. The idea of traveling long distances, and the financial burden of it, made it an impractical option.

However, in a small hospital in Papua New Guinea’s Gulf Province, Siafy found the eye care he was searching for. Through a Foundation-supported outreach, he underwent life-changing cataract surgery. The moment his bandages were removed, Siafy’s world was transformed. "I am so happy," he beams. "With the outreach staff, I really noticed a level of care I had never seen before."

The impact of restoring Siafy’s sight extended far beyond him. It lifted a load off Loku’s shoulders and took strain off Siafy’s family. "I couldn’t be more thankful for the chance I’ve been given to see clearly again," Siafy reflects.

Siafy’s story underscores the impact our supporters make - restoring not just sight, but the ability to provide for a family. Your generosity enables us to reach more people, ensuring that everyone has a chance to access life-changing eye care.

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