Maadia is an eleven-year-old girl who has been experiencing poor vision for just over two years. Although she spoke to her parents about her failing sight, they were unable to help her due to their financial situation.
“My parents felt really bad, but they said they couldn’t do anything,” explained Maadia. “They didn’t have enough money for me to go to the hospital, so they said I had to wait until they had money. I knew it would be a long time before I could get my eyes checked. I lost hope that I would ever see normally again.”
Maadia was therefore thrilled when she found out her teachers would be participating in the School Eye Health Program, implemented by the Brien Holden Foundation and the Tanzania Ministry of Health, and funded by Optometry Giving Sight. Teachers from schools around the Bagamoyo District of Dar es Salaam were trained in eye health education and were also taught how to screen the children’s eyes and refer them for treatment when needed.
The School Eye Health Project offers eye screening and refraction services for free, and when a child is found to have refractive error or is found to need any medication or glasses, the project will cover all expenses.
Maadia was very happy and surprised when her teacher told her about the project. “I was the first in line to get my eyes checked,” she laughed. “I was so excited! And my parents were so happy for me.”
After her screening, Maadia was identified with low vision and was referred to Mlandizi Vision Centre for further tests.
Maadia was delighted that she will now receive the treatment for free. “I am very happy, and I have high hopes that I am going to be treated and will be able to read easily. I will be comfortable and able to sit in any position in my class. I will also be able to read anything from the board and my performance in school will greatly improve,” Maadia said excitedly. “My life will be wonderful,” she said smiling.