Since Helen Keller challenged Lions to become “Knights of the Blind” in 1925, Lions Clubs around the world have dedicated resources to improving eye health and eye care for hundreds of millions of people globally.  Lions continue to actively assist in a range of vision related projects to help educate our communities, build clinics and support the blind and visually impaired through assistive technology and vocational training programs.  In line with this global initiative to preserve the precious gift of sight for the world, Tetbury Lions have donated £300 to assist Jo Forss with her inaugural Vision Aid project.

Leaving her ophthalmic practice Jo, along with five others, has volunteered for a two week Vision Aid assignment in Nekemte Ethiopia.  During the visit she will be training ophthalmic nurses and eye clinic technicians in the local vision centre as well as performing eye tests in the local hospital.  In addition, Jo will be spending several days in the rural community testing children who have been screened as having visual problems.

Ethiopia is a rapidly developing country that is emerging from some of the worst trappings of extreme poverty that existed a decade or so ago.  There are, however, still vast areas where people lack basic healthcare services and access to eye care is scarce.  The population of over 100 million is scattered across remote, often hard to reach areas.  There are just 129 ophthalmologists in the whole country and most of these are in the capital, Addis Ababa.  Vision Aid Overseas has supported the establishment of five Vision Centres in Ethiopia since 2002 to train local eye care workers, enabling thousands of people to have free eye tests and glasses, most for the first time in their lives.

Jo is confident her experience will be both interesting and rewarding and is already considering a second trip with Vision Aid.


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