Eye Surgeries for Economically Disadvantaged Children in Yemen

Fund for the Future of Our Children Provides Funds for Essential Eye Surgeries for Economically Disadvantaged Children in Yemen.

The Republic of Yemen has been devastated by years of war. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, “The humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world.” Economic conditions are dire and access to necessities is extremely limited.

The Fund for the Future of Our Children (FFC) has been working to support the people of Yemen since 2017. In that year, FFC and Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) collaborated to celebrate the culture of seven countries, including Yemen. The event was held at The Arena Stage in Washington, DC, and included Yemeni heritage through dances, music and poems performed by children. FFC partnered with the International Rescue Committee to raise $10,000 for Syrian refugees.

In 2018, FFC collaborated with Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service to showcase Yemen’s rich culture while bringing attention to its needs. FFC partnered with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to raise funds for their work in Yemen. FFC was able to raise $23,200 for medical relief efforts.

In recent years, FFC has been focusing on working directly with medical care providers and relief organizations in Yemen to provide urgent eyecare for children. There are about 1.4 million blind children in the world and 3⁄4s live in the poorest regions of Africa and Asia. Childhood blindness and severe visual impairment often occur in these areas due to treatable conditions which are not addressed in a timely fashion due to a lack of available resources.

Major factors causing blindness include corneal scarring from measles, vitamin A deficiency, using harmful traditional eye remedies, ophthalmia neonatorum, and rubella cataract. In Yemen, a study found that cataract is the main cause of unilateral and bilateral blindness requiring surgical relief. Although cataract is more common among adults, it also occurs in children. Early treatment of cataract is important for the prevention of blindness. Some of the risk factors affecting cataract at a young age include inflammation in the eye, hereditary conditions, Rubella in the mother before birth, eye injuries and eye diseases.

FFC is committed to reducing the risk of blindness among Yemeni children. Each child is reviewed by an expert to decide the necessary treatment. In addition to providing resources for surgeries, FFC has also invested in essential medications for young people with eye disease. Most surgeries have been performed at the reputable Al-Maghrabi Eye Hospital in Sana’a, Yemen.

To date, FFC has financially supported eye surgeries for the following children:

– JANA (Sep 20), 5-month-old girl – Cataract surgery for both eyes (2 surgeries).
– AMJAD (Sep 20), 12-year-old boy – lens surgery.
– MOHAMMAD (Oct 20), 13-year-old boy – lens surgery.

– AYA (Mar 21), 2-year-old girl who is partially paralyzed – Cataract surgery.
– ABDULWAHAB (Mar 21), 12-year-old boy – Eye trauma – Hypertropia and orbital hydrated cyst surgery.
– MALAK (Mar 2021), 8-year-old girl – Lost trauma posterior capsular opacity and corectopia surgery.
– ALHUMEIDI (Oct 21), 16-year-old boy — Retinal detachment surgery for both eyes (2 surgeries).
– OWSAN (Nov 21), 3-year-old boy – Cataract surgery.
– MOHAMMAD A (Nov 21), 2 ½ year old boy – Glaucoma surgery for both eyes (2 surgeries).
– AHMAD (Nov 21), 10-year-old boy with Down Syndrome – Cataract surgery.

Additionally, private funding in 2021 was generated to support these procedures:

– AISHA (Apr 21), 5-year-old girl – Cataract surgery for both eyes (2 surgeries).
– RAHAF (Sep 21), 6-year-old girl – suffered severe eye trauma – (under treatment, awaiting surgery).

– MOHAMMAD A (Jan 2), 2 1/2-year-old boy – Glaucoma surgery for left eye (Right eye was done on Nov 21).
– YASMIN (April 14), 9-year-old-girl Cataract surgery for both eyes.
– ALBARA’A (April 17), 9-year-old boy – Glaucoma, valve implant surgery for right eye. He had lost vision in left eye but is able to preserve vision in right eye.
– MAHRAN (April 23 & 26) – 3-month-old boy – Glaucoma surgery for both eyes.