Lubombo Mountains, Swaziland

Vujshwa is only 5 years old, but he is already losing his vision. This young boy with unusually large eyes and a generous heart was born with glaucoma, a disease which builds up pressure in the eye and without treatment, will eventually lead to blindness. The effects of glaucoma are irreversible, but if found within the first year of childhood, there may be no lasting damage.

Unfortunately, this was not the case for young Vujshwa. Vujshwa and his family live in the community of Shewula, a dispersed and isolated village in the Lubombo mountains of Swaziland. His mother works hard to provide for Vujshwa and his siblings but she did not have access to eye care for Vujshwa until the Mercy Air helicopter arrived with a team of ophthalmologists.

Jan 17 Swazi - Vujshwa.JPG

When Dr. Leanni Piek, a volunteer from South Africa, arrived in this remote village, she explained to Vujshwa’s mother what was wrong with her son’s eyes. Dr. Piek described the necessary treatment which is available at the nearest hospital, two hours away. Though it will not be easy, his mother is trying to find a way to get Vujshwa the treatment he needs to save most of his eyesight.

Blindness is traumatizing for anyone who is affected by it, but it can be even more devastating in sub-Saharan Africa. Mercy Air, in partnership with ophthalmologists in Swaziland, has already helped to restore the sight of many, but for this young boy, help is critical. Vujshwa is excited to know that he may be able to keep his eyesight and even enjoy a normal childhood, running and playing with the other boys in his village.