Masu and his wife Sadiya
Masu and his wife Sadiya
Masu and his wife Sadiya
Masu and his wife Sadiya

This story is true…

It’s the story of a talented and handsome young man named Masu and his loving wife, Sadiya… and the spine-chilling disease threatening them all. (And you have the power to stop it today!)

“I could even see worms moving about in my eyes.” Your donation will be multiplied by SEVEN to help stop River Blindness.

I’m going to tell you a story that’s so terrible it might make you feel itchy, or even sick. Worse still, this story is true. And it begins with the words of a talented and handsome man named Masu: “I used to play midfield, centre right. I liked football a lot!”

That was many years ago, in his youth, when he passed his school exams with the best marks in the class – and had big dreams. “We never had much, but my ambition was to become a doctor, he continues, “I saw many people suffering from different diseases in my village… I wanted to help them.”

Masu never made it to university because of a little black fly.


Read more of Masu's story


Masu remembers, “I helped a lot in the garden when I was young… insect bites were very common.”

This is no surprise. The fast-flowing river that runs next to their village is an ideal breeding place for black flies. They feed on blood, and each bite transmits dangerous parasites into people – whether adult or child.

The parasites then reproduce, spreading thousands of larvae through your body. These worms knot up under your skin. You can see them moving… It’s terrifying. Sickening. Yet this is only the beginning of River Blindness.

Because then the worms spread up towards your face.

With despair, Masu says, “Finally I could even see worms moving about in my eyes…”

He continues, “When I realised, I was thinking: What is happening to me? Then out of instinct: Will I become blind? That was very frightening… In the end I did become blind.” When the worms reached his eyes, they ate his optic nerves. This damage is permanent. “My eyes became hazy and I couldn’t even recognise people,” his voice fills with sadness as he remembers.

“Since then it feels blank. I can’t see anything, not even if there is light or darkness. When I became blind, I lost all hope. All dreams disappeared. I thought, I am finished with my life.”


But then the story changes… Then LOVE comes in!

With a dazzling smile, Masu tells of the day he met his wife. “I cannot see her, so I cannot say anything of her beauty. However, I honour her because of her attitude and her qualities. She is humble and patient and supportive. She gave me children! That’s her real beauty. That’s why I love her.

Masu’s wife, Sadiya, smiles shyly and says, “Some people in the village point at me and say in a mean way, ‘Look, this is the woman of the blind man.’ But I don’t care. I stand by him.”

Have you ever heard of such a beautiful love?

“Before I got married, I worried about how my life was going to be,” Masu admits. “I’m so happy that I married her! She is now my eyes. When we are planting together on the farm, she guides me where I have to put the seeds.”

Masu and Sadiya have four gorgeous little boys with cheeky smiles and bright eyes. But this is where the story becomes frightening again…

With his voice trembling, Masu says, “I don’t want to imagine what would happen if my children caught this disease… Who would help them? I can’t do it, and we are poor.”

You and I must act fast to protect children like Masu and Sadiya’s from the horror of River Blindness.


How do worms cause blindness?

Masu's sons Abbas and Gadaffi

It's hard to imagine something worse than having parasitic worms crawling under your skin. But in countries across Africa, these nightmare worms are destroying people's eyes from the inside out. Here's how…

What causes River Blindness?

  1. You are bitten by a Black Fly
    A black fly found by rivers bites you and infects you with parasites (called Onchocerciasis volvulus).

  2. Bumps under your skin
    The parasitic worms mature and breed, spreading through your body. They cluster in bumps under your skin.

  3. Itching
    The worms release a toxin that causes rashes, skin lesions and agonising itching. It's so unbearable, people make special knives to dig the worms out of their body.

  4. Worms in your eye
    Eventually they reach your eye, where they eat the optic nerve and cause irreversible blindness.

With help from people like you, CBM has made huge inroads in stamping out River Blindness in some of the most remote places in Africa. We're thrilled to report it has been completely wiped out in Senegal and Mali!

In 2019 we've committed to getting medication to families in Nigeria, where 50 million people are threatened by this horrible disease, and to stop this disease for good!

But we can't do it alone. This is where your help is so urgently needed today!

With your donations and the partners CBM has on the ground ready to act, we believe we can stop the cycle of infection and stamp out the disease.

As a world leader in preventing blindness, CBM has people on the ground now, ready to deliver the medicine in the most at-risk regions.

Please give now, so your gift can be multiplied
to reach 7 times as many children!