During 2020 and continuing into 2021 teams of volunteers have been working remotely from their homes to create training courses that, post-covid, we hope to deliver in Ethiopia, Zambia and Sierra Leone. 17 volunteers have so far committed over 600 hours of their time to source and create materials on Refraction, Paediatric Optometry and Case Management and Low Vision, including a train the trainer course.

 

"In March, when every activity and social engagement dropped from my diary overnight, I was delighted to learn I was able to continue contributing to the work of Vision Aid Overseas.  I’ve been involved with a team developing the Refraction Course. This has involved me improving my almost non-existent IT skills; creating PowerPoint presentations and spreadsheets, researching topics, learning more about global eyecare, liaising with VAO’s Country Directors and understanding more about VAO’s goals.

We’ve had regular virtual meetings to exchange ideas which has been brilliant keeping me in touch with colleagues. The commitment is flexible, allowing me to devote time during lockdowns and pick up all my social activities when they returned over the summer.

By volunteering with VAO I have learnt new skills, been part of a team and receive the great feeling of knowing I’m increasing the provision of eye care in Africa."

Kristina Chapman, Optometrist

 

"During the 2020 lockdown periods in both the UK and Melbourne, Australia, I have been spending some time supporting the development of VAO’s Paediatric Optometry course materials for optometrists in Ethiopia. Orthoptists are highly specialised in paediatric vision testing and the diagnosis and management of strabismus and amblyopia, in collaboration with optometry and ophthalmology colleagues.

I have been able to offer my knowledge and clinical experience to support the development of modules on children’s vision testing, strabismus measurement, binocular vision and eye movement assessment, and amblyopia management. It is a privilege to be able to share practical testing tips with Ethiopian optometrists and summarise the latest developments in amblyopia management, to support their vital work with young children who may otherwise be living with treatable sight loss.

As an amblyopia researcher, it is wonderful to be able to share the findings of cutting edge orthoptic research with eyecare professionals globally, to enhance and inform their practice in this area."

Marianne Coleman, Orthoptist

We would like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers who have taken part in this work. Your expertise and dedication have been amazing and we would not be able to do this without you.

For updates on new volunteering opportunities, please keep an eye on our social media accounts, e-newsletter and website for announcements.