BY: Nokuthula Khwela

The ability to see properly is one that is sometimes taken for granted, even without medical advice. Many students struggle in class simply because they cannot read what their teacher is writing on the board or even what is in their workbooks. There are an estimated 19 million children who are visually impaired, and the majority of these visual restrictions could have been prevented if there had been vision examinations, according to the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

As a result of their creation of holistic educational programs that help our kids succeed in their academic endeavours, Tomorrow Trust recognizes and understands the persisting inequities in education that our kids and students must contend with. These youngsters come from Township Communities. In addition to academic development, the holistic educational programs also offer psychosocial support, career advancement, opportunities, and access to the internet. They work with like-minded people to ensure the cohesive support required for the child’s improvement when they do identify a specific need impeding academic growth in the child.

Being associated with Ster-Kinekor, Vision Mission brings absolute joy to Tomorrow Trust. The goal of Ster Kinekor’s CSI is to raise awareness of low vision as a significant public health issue and to stop the rise in visual impairments among young people in underprivileged communities. Children with vision loss are less able to reach their full potential because it has an impact on their social interactions, academic performance, self-image, and emotional and motor development. Children who are in school need to have vision screenings to help with the early detection of visual anomalies that are common across age groups and could harm their academic performance and social interactions.

Through this collaboration, the 350 students enrolled in Tomorrow Trust’s Junior Holiday and Saturday School Programs in Gauteng and the Western Cape took part in the Vision Mission campaign. Initial screening was done by ophthalmic nurses, and in a controlled setting, optometrists performed visual assessments. Prescriptions were recorded, a frame was chosen, and then everything was submitted to the lab to be finished.

“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

A total of 59 of the 350 Tomorrow Trust students who were checked for visual impairments had some sort of issue, and Optic Eyewear and Spectacle Connection had fitted them with the proper eyeglasses. This will help children enhance their fundamental motor skills, perform better in school, and improve their social connections by regaining their confidence.

Ster-Kinekor delivered the students their glasses on April 1st, 2023, and offered them what was probably their first cinema experience. It was lovely to see the grins on their cheeks thereafter.

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


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