"I was ashamed and felt pretty down about going to school."
In Australia we are lucky enough to be able to make health, including vision, a priority for our children. In developing countries, unfortunately this is not always an available reality.
Chantou’s family had fallen into despair for their 15 year old daughter who was repeatedly failing in her studies. They live in Phnom Penh, Cambodia where access to eye care is limited.
“Our hopes for a better future for Chantou seemed lost as she was bottom of the class every year,” said Chantou’s mother.
“We knew in our hearts she was not a lazy girl but Chantou could not study well. We were very worried as a family as we live on a very low income and often struggle to get by,” she said sadly.
Chantou described her story of difficulty in a quiet, gentle voice. “I had a lot of trouble at school with my studying. I tried and tried but I couldn’t seem to see the answers like the other children.”
“I even became bad-tempered because I felt like people believed I was lazy. I was ashamed and felt pretty down about going to school,” said Chantou.
Fortunately, Chantou’s high school was included in one of the Institute’s school eye health programs and she received an eye examination.
A pair of glasses changed everything for Chantou.
Every day her glasses are helping change her future for the better. Her forgotten childhood dreams are taking shape again as she finds studying easier and her grades improve.
“Now I can fully focus on my studying. I have no headache and no bad feelings when being at school. As a result, my teacher says I am an outstanding student in my class – I got first grade this month,” said Chantou smiling proudly.
Thanks to our donors and sponsors, Optometry Giving Sight has provided funding to the School Eye Health/School Screening program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia since 2013. The project is implemented by Brien Holden Vision Institute and local partners.
Photos courtesy BHVI