Johannesburg, 12 April 2023 – The ability to see clearly is one often overlooked, without any medical consult; many learners struggle in schools simply because they cannot see what their teacher is writing on the board or even what is on their workbooks. According to the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), there is an estimate of 19million children who are visually impaired, and majority of their visual limitations are avoidable had there been vision screenings.
Tomorrow Trust acknowledges and understands the ongoing injustices in education that our children and students face, we create Holistic Educational programmes that enable our children to successfully navigate their academic journeys. These children and youth are from Township Communities. The Holistic Educational Programmes not only encompass academic development but include psychosocial support, career development and digital access and opportunities. When we do see specific need that hinders the child’s academic development, we partner with likeminded individuals to ensure the cohesive support needed for the betterment of the child.
We are proud to have partnered with Ster-Kinekor, Vision Mission. Ster Kinekor’s CSI focus is to curb the increase in visual impairments amongst the youth in underprivileged communities and increase awareness of low vision as a major public health concern. Vision loss in children limits their potential as it affects motor skills and emotional development, self-image, academic prowess, and social relations. Vision screenings of school-going children are essential in the early detection of visual anomalies common in different age categories, which may negatively affect their academic ability and social development.
Through this partnership, the 350 learners enrolled in the Junior Holiday and Saturday School Programmes at Tomorrow Trust in Gauteng and Western Cape participated in the Vision Mission initiative. The ophthalmic nurses did initial screening and optometrists conduct visual examinations in a controlled environment. Prescriptions are documented, frame selected, then everything is sent to the lab for completion.
“I was touched by seeing one of the parents coming to the programme to witness their child being screened, the child had medical problems for over 8 years and the parents could not afford to purchase lenses for her, she was always being redirected elsewhere for intervention. It brough tears to my eyes to see the work of Vision Mission at play, -for all the learners who come from families that cannot afford the “luxuries” that should be a human right. If kids can’t see, they can’t learn. Ours is to ensure their greatest potential by providing the resources needed,” says Nthabiseng Seane – Partnership Lead at Tomorrow Trust
Out of 350 Tomorrow Trust learners who were screened, 59 were found to have some level of visual problems and suitable eyewear has been provided for them by Optic Eyewear and Spectacle Connection. This will improve their academic performance, enable them to develop their core motor skills and restore their social interactions by increasing their confidence.
On the 1st April 2023, Ster-Kinekor handed over the eyewear to the learners and gave them
what is most likely their first experience in a cinema, and it is wonderful to see the smiles on their faces afterwards.
The Ster-Kinekor CSI Expert, Geraldine Engelman, states, “We were delighted to be able to help. “Working with Tomorrow Trust was a much-needed way to help children with their unprecedented need for eye care. We were thrilled to see how the children adored their spectacles, which will improve their academic performance, quality of life, and, of course, increase their enjoyment of movies!, “Engelman concludes.