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Local learners can see clearer now
06 September 2018

A group of 32 school going children from the Helderberg were granted the gift of clearer sight last week, thanks to a project by Ster-Kinekor.

The learners from ACJ Phakade Primary School and Rusthof Secondary School were the beneficiaries of spectacles, after they were screened by professional optometrists as part of Ster-Kinekor’s Vision Mission programme.

The handover took place at the cinema in Somerset Mall on Thursday 30 August, when the learners were also treated to a movie, popcorn and slush by Biggi Brands and Slush Puppie as well as a delicious lunch by Spur and Panarottis.

According to Geraldine Engelman, head of transformation, CSI and wellness at Ster-Kinekor, the national project is a strategic partnership with the Youth Citizens Action Programme (YCAP) and the departments of Health and Basic Education. It aims to teach children about the importance of taking care of their eye health.

“Vision Mission has been pro-active in addressing eye health care problems since its launch in 2005 and has screened approximately 321 246 children from previously disadvantaged backgrounds across the country,” she explained.

“Through our partnership with YCAP and the government departments, we identified 50 learners, who were screened by professional optometrists. Of these, 14 learners of ACJ Phakade Primary and 18 from Rusthof Secondary have received spectacles and been taught how to take care of their spectacles.”

These children are part of group of 63 learners from the province to benefit from the latest round of the project, while close to 120 pairs of spectacles have already been distributed to children across the country this year.

Engelman said they aim to grant 400 children the gift of sight for 2018. However, the project does not only provide spectacles to children; it also provides the necessary funding for other medical procedures such as cornea transplants.

She further added that the children will not only be able to see clearer, but have also been given a second chance. “During the screening process, the optometrist discovered that one of the learners was already blind in her one eye,” she related.

“With the donation of spectacles, the girl is able to see clearer using her ‘healthy’ eye and focus on her dreams,” Engelman said. “Vision Mission aims to contribute to helping to curb the increase in visual impairments among youth from underprivileged communities. We want to show youths they can achieve anything they set their sights on; with clearer vision their dreams are more doable.”

This is not just a once-off donation, Engelman added. The learners will be screened in the next two years to ensure they remain on course in achieving their dreams.

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