Eritrea: Finan’s story

Finan is in her second year of studying for her diploma in the Asmara College of Health Sciences optometry program.

The program forms part of a five-year project which aims to contribute to the development of optometry in Eritrea by training 75 students to become optometric technicians and placing them in district hospitals; training 35 degree-qualified optometrists; establishing six to eight vision centers; and providing services to over 48,000 people.

Finan is one of the 75 students that will eventually graduate as an optometric technician, and she is overjoyed at the opportunity. “I can greatly empathize with those that suffer from avoidable blindness,” she said. “I also had poor vision for two years before receiving help, so I know how difficult it is to live a full and successful life when you can’t read or write because of poor vision. The worst thing of all is that people suffer needlessly – if they had access to an eye examination and a pair of glasses, they would be able to live normally again.”

When Finan heard of the optometry program at Asmara University, she knew she had found her calling in life. “I wanted to spend my life serving those people who struggle with vision problems. Doing work like this makes me feel that I am changing people’s lives for the better, so it is extremely fulfilling.”

“I find the program to be truly fascinating. Providing people with the gift of sight really instils hope in them and encourages them to pursue the dreams they thought were long gone. We give them light in life,” she said.

Finan is very grateful for the opportunity to study to become an optometric technician. “I will be the happiest person in the world when I graduate. I cannot wait to begin my career in optometry,” she concluded.

The current program operating in the optometry department at the Asmara College of Health Sciences in Eritrea is funded by Optometry Giving Sight and supported by the Brien Holden Foundation.