A little about Asmait
Asmait Hagos is a 21-year-old girl from the small village in Eritrea, a developing nation in east Africa. She is the second-youngest of 7 children in her family, supported largely by her oldest brother and father. Together they bring in $150 US dollars a month, a sum which barely covers their basic living expenses. With Asmait growing older, they were extremely hopeful she would be able to begin working and help support their large family.The Hagos family in their living room. Asmait pictured crouching lower right.
But there’s a problem
At the age of 9, Asmait began losing her sight. It started with not being able to see the board at school, then she could no longer see her classmates sitting beside her, and today she is unable to work, leave the house or even walk to the bathroom on her own. There are approximately 39 million people in the world living with blindness. Of those 39 million, it is the women who suffer the most, many being subjected to prostitution and sex slavery to sustain their families. Luckily for Asmait, her family is loving and deeply concerned about her future.
...and this is where I come in
My name is Haleigh, and I am a 26-year-old newly wed working for a non-profit in Utah, which, in case geography isn't your forte, is nowhere near Eritrea. The organization I work for specializes in increasing visual health accessibility around the world, and many of our operations are conducted in east Africa. Simon and his family contacted our CEO while in the Kenya, and have since been in contact with me via emails and phone calls for nearly 2 years in hopes of getting care for Asmait. I was absolutely heart-broken when we finally got a diagnosis and realized the bill would be too high for our organization to justify on an individual basis. Even though our nonprofit was not able to help the Hagos family, I thought that maybe I could. I have offered to be the voice of the Hagos family here in the states and try to raise the money for her operation before her condition advances beyond saving.
Me, pictured left, on a vision outreach in Colombia.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
Thankfully, Asmait's condition is 100% curable. We have already contacted a well-known ophthalmologist in a bordering country who has volunteered her services for free for Asmait's case. All we need now to help Asmait see again are some rather expensive supplies (including a live cornea!)
If we are able to operate Asmait's case before it advances, Asmait will have an opportunity at education, her own autonomy, and a dignified profession to help her family earn an income. Although Asmait is the only one receiving the operation, a family of nine will benefit from her ability to contribute financially to their needs.
You can join us
100% of the funds donated to this campaign will go directly to Asmait's operation costs, including $2,500 for the shipping and purchase of the cornea, $1,000 for cross-linking and $500 for permanent contact lens. Any remaining funds over our $4,000 goal will go to helping Asmait's family with transportation and lodging costs incurred for the 2 weeks she will need treatment.
Anyone who donates will receive updates on Asmait's surgery and progress, including pictures and messages of gratitude from her family (nothing perks up a day like the Hagos family showering e-blessings on you!) Please help us restore Asmait's sight, no matter how small your donation!