Fatigasi’s Story

Restoring eyesight in Bakote, The Gambia

Fatigasi hasn’t been able to recognize faces for a year.

Since she developed severe cataracts, the faces of her six children and many grandchildren have been nothing more than a blur.


Scenes from the area near Fatigasi’s home in The Gambia.

Fatigasi lives with over a dozen of her family members in a small group of buildings in Bakote, an area of The Gambia near the capital of Banjul. Common traffic on the streets includes donkey carts and the iconic old Mercedes painted in yellow taxi stripes.

Like many of her neighbors, she provided for her family by working in agriculture, farming rice when she was younger.

Now 80, Fatigasi can barely leave her home because of her poor sight. She likes to wear the vivid colors found in traditional Gambian clothes, but she remains inside for fear of falling or becoming lost beyond the safety of her home.


Women in traditional clothing near Banjul, The Gambia.

Her children work in local business and civil service throughout The Gambia, although one of her sons spends much of his time looking after his mother now that she is blind.

They all feared that her loss of sight was permanent. When she and her son heard of the surgery, they were reticent. Wasn’t gradual blindness just a result of age?


A HelpMeSee staff member speaks with Fatigasi and registers her for surgery through the HelpMeSee Reach app.

But when a community screener from HelpMeSee’s partner hospital explained the process of the surgery, Fatigasi was relieved. She didn’t know her blindness could be cured, but the doctor explained her blindness was treatable and that the surgery would be made possible with the support of HelpMeSee.


Fatigasi at home with one of her grandchildren in Bakote, The Gambia.

Fatigasi received her sight-restoring care the first week of HelpMeSee’s campaign launch in The Gambia.

Back at home, her restored vision will let her spend time with her family and leave her house without worrying about her safety. She has a new freedom.