Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) has launched its 2020 Christmas appeal – and hopes to raise £50,000 to help people living in poverty to access affordable glasses and eyecare.
VAO stated: “For many of us in the UK we don’t think twice about how easy it is for us to access eyecare, to pop into the local opticians and get the glasses we need. However, there are 1.2 billion people worldwide who cannot see clearly because they don’t have access to the eyecare or glasses they need.
“This year we are asking everyone to put themselves in the shoes of the people we serve, to imagine what Christmas would be like without glasses, without being able to see clearly.
“Onanta is a secondary school student from Zambia and is one of the people we have helped this year. She wakes up at 4:30 every morning to do her chores and to study, before starting school at 7am. She works hard at school and dreams of becoming a nurse in the army. However, Onanta started getting headaches and was struggling to read the blackboard at school and her textbooks at home.
“Happily, Onanta had her vision screened for problems by a teacher we trained, who referred her to a visiting eye health team, who provided her with the glasses she needed.
“After getting her glasses ,Onanta said: ‘When I received glasses, I was able to see clearly, I would read without difficulties even if I seat at the back in class. I don’t experience the headaches anymore. This helps me, not only to perform well in class, but also to prepare for my grade 12 final exams without difficulties.’
“Now that she has her glasses, Onanta’s dreams are clearer and her future brighter.
“In the last year we have screened 181,923 people for eye diseases, gave over 15,000 people a pair of glasses and provided training to 330 professional health workers.
“We want to continue with this work and to help more people like Onanta to get the eyecare they need.”