six year old anita and twelve year old sonia, sisters, were both born blind to parents who, as field labourers making less than a dollar a day, were unable to afford the 300 dollar, fifteen minute operation that would restore their sight.
for such children, blindness is often a death sentence. unable to read or find work, most leave their villages to spend their lives homeless, asking for money in the streets (much like with this photo).
but with the help of 20/20/20, a non profit which seeks to provide the surgery for the approximately twenty million in need, sonia and anita were successfully treated, with their defective opaque lenses replaced with functional artificial ones.
said anita’s mother, “when they removed the bandages, she kept saying ‘mother, i can see! i can see!’” as 20/20/20 explains, “it is an amazing experience to watch a child open their eyes and see for the first time. some gasp, some cry. some are too stunned to do anything except look around them and take it all in.”
you can watch a short, but impactful, documentary on anita and sonia, which includes the touching footage of the sisters seeing for the first time. photos from a larger series by brent stirton. click picture for more on their story from said doc. (see also: india’s dalits)