My recent trip to Uganda started three months earlier when the results of 2500 eye tests started to arrive. With a fantastic team of helpers we set to work prioritising the children with the poorest eyesight, finding end-of-line or recycled glasses to suit each child, ordering the lenses and glazing them to the frames. Eight weeks later & with 300 pairs of glasses in my bags I arrived in Uganda.
My first stop was a visit to Platinum Medical Centre where I met the brilliant medics and found out more about their work with Humanity Direct to perform life-saving and life-changing operations for children who have struggled to get the medical care they need. It was great to see how donations were spent & the impact it had on such young lives.
It was then my turn to get to work. Over the next few days I worked with the HD team, training them in eye screening including taking visual acuity and using the autorefractor – a vital piece of equipment. Training the team means our work will be far more sustainable as they’ll be able to work alongside the doctor to help screen the children with the poorest eyesight.
Heading down unbelievably bumpy roads we continued over the next few days to visit remote villages. We were able to donate medical supplies and held several clinics where we practised eye-screening, identifying 10 children with very poor eyesight. Luckily I had number of spare glasses that worked for some of the children.
It was brilliant to witness the “wow”, when fitting glasses, as children saw clearly for the first time in their lives. One little girl was just amazed at how clear the world was, she wandered around with her mouth open seeing her friends clearly for the first time, she could even see the individual leaves on the tree we were under. Her prescription was about -5.00 dioptres, anything more than a couple of feet away was a blur and these were the first glasses she had ever owned. To see the difference a simple pair of glasses could make to a child’s life was wonderful.
I have been to many other parts of the world where there is equal poverty that is incredibly hard to see. However, the people are I met are optimistic that the future will be better. Working with Humanity Direct I too am optimistic that by doing my bit alongside the doctors and other organisations that we can make the future better for these children. To find out more about our glasses programme & how you can help please visit: bit.ly/2LxxDYP