H'Nhi | The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ

H'Nhi

Vietnam: When five-year-old H'Nhi was just a baby learning to crawl, her mother noticed something was wrong.

“There was something white inside her eyes,” she remembers. H’Nhi’s mother was afraid, and heartbroken that something should be wrong with her baby, her only girl in a family of boys.

With The Foundation's support, Dr Phuong has received specialty training to operate on children.H’Nhi had been born with cataracts. All she could see was a blur. And when light hit her eyes, the pain was excruciating.

On a special Wednesday, five year old H’Nhi awoke and, as usual, screwed her little face up in pain as the sunlight seeping through the cracks in the walls of their family home struck her eyes.

This was the day H’Nhi was travelling with her grandmother and uncle to the Phu Yen Eye Hospital in central Vietnam to be examined by the doctors. H’Nhi’s mother had just had another baby and wasn’t able to travel.

Helping families who need it most

H’Nhi’s family is so poor that they had to borrow money for H’Nhi, her grandmother and her uncle to make the journey to Phu Yen.

They had never thought they would be able to afford to get H’Nhi’s eyes treated, but thanks to the kindness of people like you, she was able to get treatment at the Foundation supported Phu Yen Eye Hospital.

“The teacher at school encouraged us to go,” H’Nhi’s mother told us.

It was important that they went as soon as possible. H’Nhi needed to be treated while she was still young, or it might have been too late. After the age of seven, the brain may not respond to signals from the eyes.

H'Nhi and her grandmother wait anxiously at the Phy Yen Eye Hospital for surgery.At the Eye Hospital, H’Nhi was operated on by Dr Phuong, a Foundation trained ophthalmologist and the only eye doctor in all of central Vietnam trained to operate on children.

A cheerful, good natured little girl, H’Nhi faced hospital with her usual smile.

“Hospitals are scary for children,” Dr Phuong observed, “and they normally shout and cry when they see doctors in white gowns.”

“H’Nhi was different. She was brave”.

Just 24 hours after the operation, H’Nhi’s eye patches were removed.

Suddenly, this brave little girl clung tightly to her grandmother and refused to open her eyes, afraid that she might not be able to see. It took some coaxing from the doctor. Everyone watched anxiously.

Finally Dr Phuong said, “H’Nhi, open your eyes, where is grandmother?”

The little girl slowly, hesitantly opened her eyes, preparing for the familiar stabbing pain. But then the expression on her face changed and she pointed at her beloved grandmother. Then she smiled.

Everyone burst into relieved laughter. The operation was a success.

In some countries, sight can be restored for as little as $25. If you take a moment now to donate, others like H'Nhi will see again. 

Coming home to celebrate

"She rushed to me and said, "Mummy, mummy, I can see so clear!"The day H’Nhi returned home the whole village came to greet and celebrate with her.

H’Nhi immediately ran to her mum and threw her arms around her. “She rushed to me,” her mother told us, “and said, ‘Mummy, yesterday everything was completely dark I couldn’t see anything it was so scary. But today I can see so clear!”

“I was very happy at that moment.”

Now, thanks to Foundation supporters like you, H’Nhi can play happily and in the sun with no pain at all. She can laugh with her friends, sing her favourite songs, and run without a care.

“Thank you so much. We are all very happy now,” her mother asked us to tell you.

"This is the biggest happiness of our whole family." said H'Nhi's father. "I just want to thank you so much for your help. We really appreciate what you have done for our daughter.”

H’Nhi’s parents biggest hope for their daughter “is to get a very bright future and not live a poor life like us,” they said.

Your generosity gives hope to the lives of so many in the countries where we work.

Thanks to Foundation supporters like you, H’Nhi has endured the last day of pain from her eyes.

A gift today will give hope and opportunity to others around the world that are unnecessarily blind like H’Nhi.

“With blindness” H’Nhi’s father said, “her future would have been very dark. But now that she can see she will have a better life. Thank you.”

 

What we can do

Help keep Fred’s dream alive.

4 out of 5 people who are blind in the developing world don't need to be. Routine treatment costing as little as $25 can restore sight and hope.


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