Two-year-old Aira Mhyca Aguilar was born in Manila with a bilateral cleft palate.
Shortly after Aira’s birth, her sixteen-year-old Mother abandoned her. Aira spent the first two years of her life in the custody of her grandparents. As fish vendors, her grandparents could not even afford to take her to a doctor for even basic check-ups. With such a deformity, Aira was destined to go through life as an outcast. School would be almost impossible for her because of derision and teasing.
Fortunately and fortuitously, Aira’s grandparents learned about an Utu partner clinic in Manila. Christian missionaries gave her grandparents enough money to cover the cost of travelling to the clinic where she received her a bilateral cleft palate repair procedure.
Aira is now a beautiful, healthy toddler with every opportunity to lead a normal, productive, happy life.
When both her aunt and her grandmother lost their sight due to cataract, 8-year-old Betty became the full-time caregiver for her family.
Betty can now go to school for the first time.
An accident took Hamdy’s left eye when he was 5 years old. At 13, a corneal ulcer in his
right eye left him completely blind. Hamdy was without sight, without hope and without a solution. He spent the next 11 years in a dark and dismal world. No education. No opportunities. A very bleak future.
Hamdy and his family were at a complete loss, until one day when they heard about an Utu partner clinic outside of Cairo. They contacted the clinic and arranged for an examination. Hamdy was a very good candidate for a corneal implant. For the first time in over a decade of darkness, Hamdy began to have hope.
The operation was a success. The graft took marvelously. Surrounded by his family,
Hamdy’s bandages were removed. Nine years of complete darkness was lifted like a veil.
Tears streamed down Hamdy’s face as he gazed upon his loved ones. And for the first
time in his life, he saw his younger brother, born during his blindness.
Imagine you’re a beautiful young woman, newly engaged and attending college. Your
future is bright. Then a severe corneal infection takes not only your sight, but your
prospects. This is exactly what happened to Banafrit from Islamabad, Pakistan.
As soon as Banafrit lost her sight, her fiancé left her. No longer able to see well, she failed
her courses and dropped out of college. The infection caused dramatic corneal clouding,
marring her natural beauty. Improperly diagnosed with a retinal detachment, she was told that her sight was lost forever. With no money, support or prospects, she fell into a deep depression. Until she stumbled across an Utu partner clinic.
After a proper diagnosis and the appropriate corrective procedure, Banafrit’s sight was restored. But that’s not all. She returned to school and found success in her studies once more. The procedure also restored the natural color of her beautiful brown eyes. But more importantly, she was able to find her inner beauty and peace. Some say the eyes are the windows to the soul. Interestingly enough, Banafrit in her native tongue is simply translated as “beautiful soul.”
Rehan is a 14 year old girl born to a very poor Egyptian family. Her appearance and poor vision made schooling impossible for her. Her parents could not afford the necessary corrective procedures through the private system. Her confidence, self-esteem, and prospects for the future were all-but-extinguished.
Fortunately, her mother learned about the Utu partner clinic near their home and Rehan was able to receive the procedures she so desperately needed, regain her sight, and return to school.