Our work Real stories Billal- seeing the blackboard Name: Billal Country: Ethiopia Occupation: Primary School Student Meet Billal, a 14-year-old student at Hobe Jare Omoka Primary School, Ethiopia. Billal is one of seven siblings and has always been very eager to learn from a young age. Before Billal was seen by Vision Aid Overseas, he struggled to see the writing on the school blackboard from a distance. He constantly had to ask his friends and teachers to read the writing on the board for him or he had to sit nearer to the front of the classroom to learn. Billal said: I first knew about my sight problem when I was 9 years old. Before that, I considered it as normal as many of my friends also had sight problems. Slowly my difficulty of seeing from a distance and near objects became worse in school as well as at home. I had to sit very near to the blackboard to see and even by doing that, some words were not clear. I had to ask my teacher to read some words to me repeatedly. When I was sitting exams, I usually took more time to complete the exams because I had trouble reading. Did you know, more than 13 million children worldwide can’t see well enough to learn because they need glasses? Working in partnership with the Ethiopian NGO, Grarbet Tehadiso Mahber (GTM), Vision Aid Overseas operates school screening outreach clinics in our partner countries to identify and correct the vision of students who can’t see well enough to learn. So, that children like Billal can see to learn and get an education. When Billal was identified as a pupil with blurred vision, he was referred to our Vision Centre in Butajira, where was given a full eye test and a pair of glasses to correct his Vision. Billal can now see the blackboard clearly and is working very hard to improve his grades. Now I can sit anywhere in the classroom as the other students. I can see clearly and I spend most of my time at home studying without any difficulty. I am very happy with my eye sight and last semester I was ranked 1st in my class. This all happened to me because a team from Vision Aid Overseas visited my school and I am very lucky for that. Said Billal When eye care is made accessible, children are more likely to reach their potential in school, achieve better education, and in the long term have greater opportunities when they leave school.