Imran Khan of Sightsavers is interested in the needs of those who can’t learn because they can’t see well because at one time, he had the same difficulty. Fortunately for Mr. Khan, he lived in the more developed world where access to help from an ophthalmologist makes all the difference.
Not everyone in the world is blessed enough to be able to afford or live in area where they can easily access the help that is needed with their eyesight. Sightsavers is working with governments around the world to help children to see better.
It is estimated that as many as 10 percent of the children who live in developing countries are not able to see well at a distance. For the majority of these children, a pair of glasses would change their lives. They would be able to see the blackboard and better understand the lessons that the teacher is trying to present.
The developing world presents certain difficulties in getting eye exams and glasses to children. Most of the eye care professionals who are located in the developing world are located in the major cities of the country. Those in rural areas don’t have access to the help that is needed. In other parts of the world, there is a stigma to wearing glasses that needs to be overcome.
Sightsavers is certainly helping with the first problem. Sightsavers is partnering with governments in order to establish eye tests right in the schools. This way, children don’t have to travel to see an eye specialist. The specialist comes to them. When the testing is done in school, the students’ educational time is only very lightly disrupted.
So far, Sightsavers is working to establish an eye testing program in four countries that are being utilized as part of a pilot program. Cambodia, Ethiopia, Senegal and Ghana are participating in the project. Students are being tested. Teachers are being trained, and students are receiving the eye care and the glasses that they need to make learning a reality.