No child wants to feel different from their peers, but from a very early age, Emmanuel did.
Blind in one eye and with low vision in the other, he didn’t think the other kids would like him, so he stayed away.
His mum, Fardos, remembers how heartbreaking it was when he was younger: ‘He never wanted to talk to the other kids. He didn’t have any friends.’
Emmanuel had already faced years of struggles as he endured operation after operation as a toddler in an attempt to correct his vision. Fardos recalls, ‘We first realised when he was six months old his eyes were turning in. By the time he was three years old, he’d had four operations.’ Sadly, none of them were successful.
‘After the third operation wasn’t going very well, they told us he had inflammation behind his eyes, and it would keep growing and growing.’
Eventually, doctors realised the surgery couldn’t fix Emmanuel’s eyes. Fardos says, ‘It was a hard time for him and for us, because it's really difficult when you see your kid like that and you don't know what to do.’
Like many children who are blind or have low vision, Emmanuel was also crippled by shyness. Fardos recalls he used to say, ‘No one wants to play with me because I can't run. I can't play football or soccer like them.’
Thanks to the kindness of generous people like you, at the age of three this young boy started receiving the support he needed to discover who he was, and who he could become.
Learning to gain his independence was a key step for Emmanuel. ‘First, Vision Australia helped Emmanuel learn how to use his white cane, because he wanted to go places, he wanted to be independent,’ Fardos said.
Right now Emmanuel is preparing for the next big step in his life—his senior years of high school. He’s only recently become comfortable with his current campus, and now he must begin again. Only this time it will be bigger, and with many more students than before.
Emmanuel says: ‘I’m a bit nervous because the school is a lot bigger there than where I am now. I will need to have more mobility sessions with my instructor from Vision Australia.’
Through Vision Australia’s specialised support, Emmanuel has overcome so much. From the terrible shyness that plagued his primary school years, he’s learned how to make friends and now wants to feel confident enough to go out with them.
As Emmanuel prepares to move to senior school, he will need the freedom to catch the bus independently and spend time with his friends, like all teenagers.
To do this, he requires specialised training and support from Vision Australia. And I can’t thank you enough for your generosity to help to make this happen.
Your thoughtfulness can give this young man the confidence he needs to take on senior school.