4 mins read | Creating Change

Pala’s impact on eyecare in Ethiopia, 2021

tumbling e eye chart

It’s important for us here at Pala to provide you updates on the vision outreach work we achieve each year through our partnership with Vision Aid Overseas… after all, it’s where your money goes towards when you buy a pair of our frames!

This year our focus has been on a ‘Support a School’ campaign, the idea born out of the huge unmet need for eye health services for school aged children in Ethiopia. It is an effective way of enabling hundreds of children in poor communities to get access to basic but life changing eye health care by attributing our grant money to support a primary school.

man wearing vision aid overseas t-shirt

Supporting Abalo Janko Primary school

 

The school Pala supported this year was located in Abalo, a small rural village in Ethiopia. It has a student population of 335 and 17 teachers. The local population is made up predominantly of subsistence farmers and there are high levels of illiteracy. The school is located in a very dry and dusty environment, lacking a reliable supply of clean water which has resulted in a high number of cases of allergic conjunctivitis and dry eye. Some of the students also had suspected malnutrition, in particular cases of Vitamin A deficiency.

 

What did we achieve?

 

Through the grant money that you, our customers have provided, we were able to deliver a comprehensive School-Based Eye Health programme by using teachers trained on School Eye Health and additionally, through Mobile Eye Clinics using local eye care professionals to visit the school. They provided free eye examinations, refractions for children and teachers who failed the initial screening done by trained teachers, and glasses or eye medication for those that need it. The result? It ensured more children and teachers could see clearly to learn and earn… and that has to be a good thing for everyone concerned!

More specifically…

Trained 2 teachers in basic vision screening so they were equipped to screen all children when they return to class after a period of absence.

Supplied the necessary materials (screening kits) for trained teachers to conduct screening and accurately record and report the data.

Screened 196 children for eye conditions, dispensing corrective spectacles, eye drops and essential medicines where appropriate.

Screened 17 teachers, dispensing reading glasses where necessary.

Conducted health education to overcome barriers toward spectacle wearing, to encourage good personal and environmental hygiene.

Trained and strengthening the capacity of local eye care professionals to deliver the Mobile Eye Clinic service.

eye screening kit for eyecare in Africa

Screening kit provided for teachers

Vision Centre at Wollega University Teaching Hospital, Ethiopia

 

In addition, Pala also contributed with other partners to establish a fully functioning vision centre at Wollega University Referral Hospital (WURH), serving the whole communities of East Wollega. The centre sees on average 220 patients per month.

Two of the beneficiaries were Aster, seven, and Yadate, nine – sisters from Ethiopia. Their parents are farmers, and they live in a rural area of the East Wollega zone. They had both experienced problems with their eyesight for some time.

“For Eye problem, I had a tearful and itchy eye, I can’t see at black board.” – Yadate

“It affected me negatively how I learn in classroom.” – Aster

school girl recipients of spectacles in Ethiopia

Aster (left) with Yadate (right)

Without access to eyecare the sisters were struggling at school and with chores at home. Happily, their vision was checked by a teacher, trained as part of this Vision Aid Overseas School Eye Health project. The teacher was then able to refer the sisters to be seen by a Mobile Eye Clinic team when they next visited the school. As a result, they were both given an eye exam and prescribed a life changing pair of spectacles.

“I can see clearly in the classroom now than I did without eyeglass. It has helped me a lot.” – Aster

“Now my eyes can see better with new eyeglasses than I used to before. I read well now and excited.” – Yadate.

Creating impact such as this is the right at the core of Pala’s vision (pardon the pun) to be a business for positive change. We will continue to communicate this and other impact we achieve through the conduct of our business and will continue to update our Impact Page as we strive to be a better business for both people and planet.

What is Pala’s mission for 2022? Find out more.