Hope Global Blog

Hope and Vision

The HOPE Team - Monday, September 23, 2013


"Wednesday morning teaching at a school on eye health was a lot of fun with really bright and enthusiastic students. When one asked how do you know if you have a vision problem we were able to demonstrate what happens in an eye exam. 

That afternoon we returned to do vision screening and were able to see 20 students before a huge storm hit. Among those was a 7 month old baby with severe difficulties, a young girl with undiagnosed severe epilepsy and a beautiful deaf girl who we were able to refer to the clinic doctor for further assessment the next day. 

Above: Cheryl teaching about eye health

Right: Nina, who is deaf

Thursday afternoon we started our vision screening at the clinic and when we arrived, waiting for us was a beautiful boy named John, who was sitting patiently waiting wearing sunglasses. When he removed the sunglasses, it was obvious he had a ulcer on his cornea and was in severe pain. On the remainder of the afternoon we saw 25 children and 6 older women who needed removal of cataracts and were able to refer them to Sabatia Eye Hospital. 


Above: Mother and child at the doctors clinic and one of the ladies undergoing vision testing

Friday was a long busy day at the clinic where we saw almost 100 children and a few adults who waited patiently all day to be seen. In this group we saw children with severe vision loss, cataracts, possible detached retinas and other complex eye conditions that impairs their vision, impacts their ability to learn and quality of life. Later in the day, a 25 year old girl, Carolyne, came in guided by her mother. She had been blind for the past 12 months and totally depended on others to help her get around. We were able to give her a cane and show her some simple techniques to assist her in getting around. It was exhilarating to watch her freedom of movement and there was joy on her face at the independence she was now getting back.

Overall we referred over 30 children to Sabatia Eye Clinic for surgery and a further 20 for follow up examination. It was such a privilege to meet with these children and their parents and teachers and give them HOPE." - Cheryl

Left: Cheryl assisting Carolyne with her new cane

There have been many memorable moments this week and I hope that I never forget any of them. Many were formed when I was testing our lovely Kenyan friends for 'distance acuity'. On Tuesday, we began our testing at Real Life School, where the storm made the English-to-Lao (local African dialect) translation very difficult, as well as making the wall where the chart was quite dark to read. When the rain began falling on me from different angles in the room, that just topped it off. 

Wednesday afternoon was our second day of vision testing, where I worked in the hallway of the Mission Clinic to do the testing. That was where I met Sally. Sally spoke perfect English (a complete blessing in Awasi!), and had a beaming grin that matched her butter-yellow T-Shirt. It soon become apparent that her glasses were a pointless addition to her attire, as she had 20/20 vision in one eye and was completely blind in the other. She was only in Primary School.

Thursday I was able to use an empty doctor's office, and had Sandra helping me get through the distance acuity tests. There were two particularly memorable moments in this office. The first was when a little girl came into the room, and as I put the testing classes on her (which blocked out vision in one ye, so that we could test the other), she began to talk very excitedly. She was probably only 4 or so years old, and Dan translated to me that she had said, 'Soon I will be able to see Mummy and Daddy'. Her faith in us that a simple pair of glasses would fix her was heartbreaking. The second was when Carolyne walked in (mentioned earlier). Her faith in me, even though she could not see me, was astounding. My hear was overjoyed when she walked around with her new cane later that day. being only a couple of years older than me, but completely blind, really impacted me. With a little bit of education about eye health and how easily cataracts are removed, she may never have needed to meet us. Yet the sad fact is that if these children are not taught simple health care, this can be the result." - Emma

Above: Emma assisting with vision screening


  • New partnerships with Chase Childcare and Sabatia Eye Clinic established for the Vision Screening/Treatment program

  • 140 students from various schools were screened for vision difficulties in partnership with Chase Childcare

  • 30 referrals to Sabatia Eye Clinic and 20 referrals for follow up exams

  • Hope Global, on behalf of generous donors, have been able to gift finance to cover around 10 of the surgeries needed

  • 30 Early Childhood Teachers from 18 schools attended training and demonstrated their skills in a practical session

  • Encouraging to see the development of an integration program for visually impaired children in the local area"

 - Robyn


Above: Handing over donated funds to Chase Childcare for surgeries Sandra assisting with vision screening

Above: Maths Learning

Above: A game of 'Duck Duck Goose'