Opinion | Choose a Gift That Changes Lives - Press "Enter" to skip to content

Opinion | Choose a Gift That Changes Lives

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Restore a person’s sight. My final prize winner is the Himalayan Cataract Project, also known as Cure Blindness, which fights blindness in Asia and Africa. This, too, is a bargain: The surgery can cost as little as $25 per person, or $50 for both eyes.

The Himalayan Cataract Project was founded by Dr. Sanduk Ruit, a Nepali ophthalmologist who helped develop a cataract microsurgery technique (the “Nepal method”), and Dr. Geoff Tabin of Stanford University Medical School. I traveled to the remote town of Hetauda, Nepal, to watch the doctors perform the surgeries — and I’ve rarely seen anything so exhilarating.

After years of blindness, a 50-year-old woman, Thuli Maya Thing, was among those lined up for the operation. “I can’t fetch firewood or water,” she told me. “I fall down many times. I’ve been burned by the fire.”

A day after the surgery, I watched as her bandages were removed. She stood blinking, and then smiled giddily as she saw her surroundings for the first time in years. Doctors tested her vision and found it to be 20/20.

“I used to get around by crawling,” she said, “and now I can get up and walk.”

I’ve seen many humanitarian interventions all over the world, and there’s almost nothing so cheap, rapid and transformative as cataract surgery. It feels biblical, as the blind see again — and recover their lives.

The web page KristofImpact.org should make it effortless for you to support these three organizations and learn more about them. Focusing Philanthropy, a nonprofit I have partnered with, will process reader contributions through the web page and report back to you on results.

Focusing Philanthropy will also pay for the credit card transaction costs of your donation, so that 100 cents on the dollar will go to your designated charity.


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