How you can help Urgent Appeal For Ethiopia Will you support Vision Aid Overseas to help train 20 optometry students in Ethiopia to bring local eye care to over 1 million people? Vision Aid Overseas urgently needs to raise a minimum of £9,950 to help train and support 20 final year optometry students at Hawassa University College of Health and Medical Sciences (UCHMS) in Ethiopia. The Hawassa Graduates will go on to provide vital eye care to over a million patients in the coming 20 years. Why Ethiopia? With a population of almost 100 million people scattered across remote, often hard to reach areas. Ethiopia is a rapidly developing country, which is slowly building its health services. There are, however, still vast areas of the country where people lack basic healthcare facilities and access to quality and affordable eye care services is scarce. Did you know, Ethiopia has one of the lowest patient to optometrist ratio? With fewer than three qualified optometrists per million. Why training? Vision Aid Overseas believes if a country is to have sustainable eye care services, it must have skilled staff to do the job. The optometry students will work alongside UK Professional Volunteers to receive training to improve their practical skills. The students can then apply the skills learnt under supervision on outreach Programmes to get the vital experience they need to work with patients once employed in government health services. With increased education and awareness amongst the next generation of optometrists, the Hawassa graduates will be able to, actively support the implementation of affordable eye care services across Ethiopia. Mulugeta (pictured) is a former Hawassa student who benefited from our training Programme in 2012 and now works as a qualified Optometrist at Grarbet Tehadiso Mahber (GTM), the Vision Aid Overseas supported partner Programme in Ethiopia. Due to your support Mulegata now has the experience he needs to work with patients and on an average day, he can screen 35-40 patients suffering from poor eye sight. Mulugeta told us: The Vision Aid Overseas volunteers taught me so much, including how to do different tests, the different steps involved in the refraction process and how best to manage my time. My dream is screening for all children early on and to ensure, if they need them, they can get their glasses. Read the rest of his story here The impact By supporting this appeal, you will be helping to provide: Local access to eye tests and glasses to 1.2 million people over the next 20 years Hands on training and mentoring for 20 final year optometry students in Ethiopia Training and support for 12 faculty staff at Hawassa University, benefitting future optometry students for many years to come How can you help? You can support this urgent Appeal by clicking on the donate button below to donate.