In our work of screening and testing teachers in various schools inMpumalanga, we have come across learners who are in need of eye care, but come from disadvantaged backgrounds and are unable to afford spectacles. Most of these learners come from child or grandparent-headed families whose budgets are extremely limited.
These learners are often orphaned and therefore vulnerable children who are either affected or themselves infected with HIV. Eye care would definitely not be their most important need, even though they may be struggling to see clearly when reading or in their classes on the blackboard. We have seen learners in approximately twenty schools with high myopia, astigmatism or hyperopia. Making high prescription lenses is often more expensive than standard lenses, making it even more difficult to assist these kids.
Refractive error contributes 90% towards the failure of learners. If they cannot see clearly, they cannot perform optimally in their studies. We have seen one such learner, a twenty year old grade 12 with myopia. A teacher had loaned him spectacles to help him see the clock on the wall for time keeping during exams. We have seen many such learners, but this one in particular made us feel that we should do something to help. Child care should be holistic in terms of addressing the child’s physical space needs as well as education.
Winners Eyecare attempts to address the issues around the child at home and at school as well as providing him or her with the necessary education around the subject, thus empowering them. We offer eye testing and dispensing of prescription glasses, school uniforms, school shoes, support for the schools’ feeding scheme, clothing and books. We also offer counseling and testing of HIV/Aids.