The School of Optometry in Nicaragua
Your donations play a critical role in educating 782 students of Optometry in Schools in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
They also help fund international teaching positions, such as the one that was filled by Dr. Justin Manning in 2016, at the School of Optometry in Nicaragua as part of the VOSH Corps program.
Justin did an incredible job in the time that he spent in Managua, with his wife and new baby. His taught the students, mentored the country’s first graduates, and increased the hours and operational capacity of the community clinic.
With a second baby on its way, Justin has returned to the USA where he is now working in private practice. we asked him to reflect on his time in Nicaragua:
“Returning home from Nicaragua has felt oddly normal. There are so many things that I miss, from my students at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua (UNAN) to speaking Spanish every day; from the chaotic movement of cars with their horns honking; to the rainbow of colors at every roadside fruit stand. Life in Nicaragua is a paradox of both hectic and as the Nicaraguans say, tranquila. People are often seen rushing to accomplish their daily tasks and at the same time, are incredibly laidback. They are the among the warmest people you will meet, welcoming you into their home and feeding you until your stomach can’t take any more at first encounter. Nicaragua is a place I will miss every day.
Dr. Justin Manning (center) with students
Optometry Giving Sight’s support of the optometry program at UNAN has been vital to the development of high quality eye care in the country. The students have gained their most valuable clinical experiences examining patients daily in the OGS-funded community clinic. Visiting professors from all over the world have bolstered the quality of the education received from the growing full-time faculty. There are now 33 UNAN-trained optometrists practicing in Nicaragua: in ophthalmology clinics building the relationship between optometrists and ophthalmologists, in rural communities bringing affordable vision correction to those who have never had it, and in the cities, offering a new level of eye care unseen previously.
I want to communicate a massive thank you to the optometrists and industry donors who have supported my role at UNAN through OGS over the last year and a half. Your contributions are going a long way to provide sustainable, high quality eye care throughout Nicaragua. Since the program opened nearly six years ago, a lot has been accomplished. However, there is still far more left to achieve.”
Justin’s reflection is a wonderful testament to the impact that your donations are having on lives throughout the world every single day.