#21Lives

Giving people hope and confidence to achieve their dreams

Husband and wife, Pedro and Beryl Carvalho, are changing people’s lives by giving them hope and confidence to face the world and to achieve their goals. They are 2 of only 13 ocularists in South Africa, a very specialised field of manufacturing and fitting artificial eyes. “We put the sparkle back in someone’s eye,” says Beryl with a smile.

However, in 2002, a nightmare series of events led to them nearly losing their business. Beryl tripped and fell through a shop window, tearing the ligament in her thumb. A short while later, Pedro was involved in a car accident, leaving them both unable to work. Fortunately, both Beryl and Pedro had income cover with FMI, and their business was able to survive through the period when they couldn’t work.

Today, they continue with the important work that they do of restoring people’s lives and allowing them to hope and dream again. Most often their patients have had to overcome major trauma in their lives. Being able to give them back a lost eye is a critical step to healing and feeling socially accepted again. Their patients can now face life with confidence and pursue occupations that they otherwise may not have had the confidence to do.

We spoke to one of their patients, a young woman by the name of Barbara, who lost her eye when she was 3 years old because a doctor gave her the wrong drops for an eye infection. Her mother took her to Beryl when she was 5 years old to have her first eye fitted. “Beryl means so much to me. Without her I wouldn’t be able to face the world because not a lot of people deal with blind people in a very good way,” Barbara says. “Beryl helped me face the world with confidence and I wouldn’t have been able to achieve much without that confidence, so she really changed my life.” “The reason that an eye prosthesis is so important is because the eyes are the window to the soul,” Beryl explains. “And when we talk to each other in our society, in all societies, we look into each other’s eyes for confirmation and affirmation.” And that’s why they do what they do with such expertise and passion.

At FMI we’re so proud of protecting incredible people like Pedro and Beryl during tough times of injury or illness, so that they can continue their dreams and ambitions and continue to do the incredible work that they do for others.

Watch Pedro and Beryl’s story