Kakule, 68, Democratic Republic of Congo

"I’ve been a farmer all my life, working in cassava and coffee fields here in Oicha. My wife is still alive, she is called Masika Jeannette and she is 66. God blessed us with ten children who are all alive. My wife and I continue to farm to feed the seven children in our care; three are already married. Kakule was blind for a year and a half before we restored his sight through free emergency surgery. Kakule was blind for a year and a half before we restored his sight through free emergency surgery. (c) Mireine Bulonza/HelpAge International

"In 2010, I suddenly became blind. I had sore eyes, but I didn’t think it was serious. I never went to the hospital to see a doctor because I couldn’t afford to. Then I woke up one day and everything was dark. I couldn’t see anything.

Emergency surgery

"I was like this for a year and a half. I suffered a lot during this period. I needed help to do everything. My family suffered a lot to take care of me and support me.

"Then my friends told me there was a free ophthalmologist at a centre for older people. I asked one of my friends to go with me one day. The doctor quickly decided that I needed emergency surgery. The operation itself lasted several hours and was very painful.

"But then I couldn’t believe that a few days after the operation, my sight came back. I have never felt such joy in all my life. Everyone in the hospital was shouting with joy when they realised I could see again.

I saw the world again

"I saw the world again with all its beauty, I saw my beautiful wife again. I will never forget this day. It was in January 2013. I had started to lose interest in life and spent many days crying in my room. But all this is in the past now.

"I thank HelpAge International for helping me to start a second life after this long time of despair. I am so grateful for the support of my wife and my children who supported me too.”

I couldn't believe that a few days after the operation, my sight came back. I have never felt such joy in all my life.

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