“If only I had my glasses before I sat for the final exams!”
An optometrist and a life insurer are pooling their resources to bring eye care to a large number of learners at designated schools. Announcing the project, Sanlam said it will employ the expertise of Torga Optical to test learners for eyesight deviation, and then help supply them with proper spectacles.
The Corporate Social Investment partnership will run the project under the Sanlam Vision for Change banner.
The partners described the project as more than a single solution for learners with eyesight problems, it is also intended to improve their ability to read and to learn. When a child with a critical need is identified through regular, scheduled clinics, he or she will be provided with prescription glasses.
The eye doctors at Torga Optical said that research has shows that 80% of children across Africa who struggle to learn, are impaired by treatable vision problems.
The first schools, Jan Jonker Afrikaner, Hage G Geingob and Windhoek High, were visited last week by optometrist Celeste van der Merwe as part of a pilot project to established the modus operandi of the larger Vision for Change project.
Sanlam intends to make the eye clinics an annual event with their General Manager, Public and Corporate Support, Evans Simataa stating, “As a responsible corporate citizen, Sanlam is committed to making a difference in the lives of everyday Namibians. While this is the first of its kind for Sanlam, we hope to carry on with this project for as long as possible.”
For the duration of an eye clinic, Torga Optical visits each school for two days with a mobile testing station. Learners with deficient eyesight are given a redeemable voucher which they can take to Torga Optical in Windhoek for further testing and the supply of a pair of glasses.
“We understand there is a great need for this kind of service and many parents and guardians can not afford it often leaving their children with even worse eyesight and learning difficulties,” said Simataa.
Torga Optical owner, Jana Kotze said they were more than happy to join Sanlam on this project as they too are committed to assisting the less fortunate and want to help make it easier for Namibian children to learn.