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A father's struggle to restore his child's sight

13 December 2018, Impact of Our Work, Emergencies

No father would ever want to hear his child cry out in pain. But that is exactly what Samir* experienced in July, 2018

Eight-year-old Razan seriously injured her eye while fleeing violence in Hodeidah, Yemen. While Samir and Razan were leaving on a motorcycle, an airstrike hit another vehicle nearby and flying shrapnel hit her eye. She cried out, "My eye, dad, my eye!"

As the heavy shelling continued, Samir was forced to continue their journey to safety, and only had time to wrap a shawl around her head. After an hour, he took her to a nearby hospital to try and stop the bleeding and treat her eye. But the hospital wasn’t equipped to help. They advised Samir to take her to a specialist eye hospital, but he just couldn’t afford the bus-fare.

“If I could have sacrificed my own eye for her, I would have done it.”

The situation in Yemen is desperate for families, who can barely afford food let alone expensive medical treatments.

Finally, Samir found someone who could take them to the hospital – he rushed her there immediately. When they arrived, they met a member of the Save the Children Team, who referred Razan for emergency surgery and later for specialist treatment.

“It was a good feeling when she got better. Priceless happiness,” Samir recalls.

“If the organisation [Save the Children] wasn’t there, she would have lost her eye. They didn’t let us down. Now we have the best thing; that Razan can see now.”

After two long surgeries, Razan’s eyesight was saved. She and her father are staying in Sana’a, where Razan still gets regular medical check-ups. Razan hopes that the conflict will end soon so she can return to school. The school is next to a government building that is often targeted by airstrikes, so it isn’t safe for her to go. 

Even though Razan has her eyesight back, daily life is still a struggle for Samir and the rest of his family. 

“Living is hard, honestly, conditions that no one knows but God, you have dinner but not lunch, you have lunch but not dinner... Razan has three other siblings who are suffering. I am not there to provide for them, as I need to be with Razan in Sana’a. This is my priority, but it is a personal struggle.”

Images: Mohammed Awadh/Save the Children
*Names have been changed to protect identity

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