Why Support a School to see?

Did you know that around 80% of what a child learns is processed through their sight?

So, what happens when a child cannot see their lessons on the board, cannot see their texts, cannot see their teacher’s face? They fall behind. They fail. And their future becomes less clear.

Right now, 12 million children worldwide struggle to learn because they struggle to see.

And it’s not just learning. Children without clear vision can feel lonely and frustrated, unable to see their friends’ faces, and to play together safely.

But we already have the solution. Access to good eye care and glasses. 

In fact, 63% of all vision impairment in the 0-14 age group is fixable with an eye exam and a pair of glasses.

And when children get access to the eye care and the glasses they need, they can see a brighter future. They stay in school, their grades improve, and they become better equipped to lift themselves and their families out of poverty.

Where can I Support a School?

We want children everywhere to see the world clearly.

But around 90% of the world's vision impaired people are located in developing nations, where services are limited.

In fact, less than 1% of children who need glasses in sub-Saharan Africa have them due to inadequate access to eye health and negative attitude towards spectacle wearing.

So that is where we focus our efforts, to bring about the greatest change.

Support a School is working in Ethiopia. Here, the need for glasses causes blindness in over 112,000 people and impaired vision in 1.1 million people.

You can support a school, in East Wollega, in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. This is a rural area, with most people reliant upon smallholder farming. There is a high level of poverty and a lack of eye health facilities and awareness. Here, the need for glasses is around twice the level of the national average.

Right now, we are working in agreement with and alongside the Ministries of Health and Education in this region. We want to provide evidence for the roll out of a national school-based eye health programme that will lead to a healthier, more productive population in Ethiopia for generations to come.

In the future, we want to extend Support a School to other countries too.

What is Support a School?

Supporting a school is an effective way of helping hundreds of children in poor communities in Africa get access to basic but life changing eye health care. 

In return for your support, we will connect you with a primary school for children aged 5-14 and then keep you updated about the changes you are helping to bring about in the lives of its pupils and teachers.

By connecting with a school, you will gain a real insight into the everyday workings of a community in Ethiopia, the challenges they face, and the work we are doing in partnership with people from that community to help overcome these challenges.

But our approach doesn’t just link you with a school in Ethiopia. By supporting a school, you are joining something much bigger.

Vision Aid Overseas is also a partner to Our Children’s Vision. We stand amongst 74 organisations worldwide all working together to ‘upscale, accelerate and expand access to eye health services to more children in more locations’.

How will my donation be spent?

Firstly, your donation will enable us to train schoolteachers to effectively screen all the children in their community and to identify those that need further eye examination. We will work with parents and the local community to reach those children not in school too, so they are not missed.

Then, a local Mobile Health Unit, led by government optometrists, will visit the school to provide full eye examinations (for both teachers and children), issue treatments like eye drops, and to prescribe glasses at no cost to a child and its family.

Optometrists will refer children and teachers who need more specialised care to other health facilities too e.g. treatment for eye diseases.

Misunderstanding of eye health and stigma around the wearing of glasses can be damaging. So we will raise awareness in the community about the importance of good eye health and the need for children with visual impairment to keep wearing their glasses.

Schools are a cost-effective platform for providing simple, safe and effective health interventions for girls and boys from age 5 onwards because there are more schools than health facilities and there are more teachers than trained eye health professionals in rural and poor areas.

When I sign up, what do I receive?

When you donate £5,000 to Support a School

We’ll send you a Welcome Pack which reveals the name and profile of the school, a donation certificate that you can display, and a ‘thank you’ photo story/video that you can share.

When you pledge to make a Regular Gift to Support a School

We’ll send you a Welcome Pack which tells you more about the programme and a ‘thank you’ photo that you can share. When you have supported schools for one year we will send you a donation certificate and a photo story/video of ‘thanks’.

When you pledge to Fundraise for Support a School

We’ll send you a welcome pack which tells you more about the programme, a pledge certificate you can display and a photo story/video that you can share to help you towards your fundraising goal. When you achieve your fundraising goal of £5,000 we’ll send you a donation certificate and a photo story/video of ‘thanks’.

And after that?

We promise to keep you up to date with our work and the impact it has on children, teachers and communities in Ethiopia. Within the first year of donation we will send you at least one detailed update directly from your school (or the programme if you are making a regular gift or fundraising) making clear how your donation has helped to bring about real change.

We will also send you other stories about Support a School, connecting you to the bigger picture.

Who will my donation support?

Children

With improved vision, children will be more likely to reach their potential in school, achieve better education, and in the long term have greater opportunities when they leave school.

Vision Aid Overseas helped to put a child eye health programme into some other schools in Ethiopia a few years ago. As a result, 73% of children improved their school grades after receiving glasses.

We want children to stay in education and to thrive because we want children to be lifted out of poverty.

Teachers

With their own vision improved, teachers will be able to stay in work; $200 billion worth of productivity is lost every year because so many people do not have the glasses they need to see clearly enough to work. Restoring someone’s sight has been found to be the single most cost-effective health intervention to reduce poverty.

And training teachers strengthens the health system overall, leaving trained human resources and health infrastructure for the local community for the long term.

Families and communities

What happens in the schoolroom impacts upon the families of pupils and the wider community too. Parents and community members will be made aware of the benefits of good vision, so that they not only support their child to take advantage of treatment, but they are also aware of how to access services themselves if necessary. 

We will reduce stigma around wearing spectacles, because this too often prevents children seeking to wear glasses or continuing to wear glasses when they receive them.

Beyond a school to a country

When you support a school, you don’t just help the children in one school, but in all the schools in the district. That’s hundreds, sometimes thousands, of children every year.

Because, to make lasting improvements in the quality of health and education in individual schools, change must involve the headteachers, teachers, parents, local community, district education offices and ultimately the national policy makers that surround and support each school.

Eventually, by working alongside government, we want our work to support changes to national policy that will reach every school child in the country.

Let’s make a start.


I’m ready to support a school to see


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