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Progress Through Partnerships

Over the past two months, our blog has focused on the critical need for and benefits of children’s vision and the existing simple solution that can change the lives of millions of children worldwide. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, a recent New York Times article elaborated on the measurable need for eyeglasses and how their use can change the world. The VII and many others were consulted by the writer to develop this informative piece that created a momentary lift in awareness for vision correction.

This month, as I wrap up the topic, it’s my pleasure to highlight a number of organizations making significant strides to improve the lives of children, thereby empowering future generations of drivers, workers, adults, and elderly.

Recently, a program in partnership with Peek Vision, a non-profit eye health organization, and Botswana’s Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Minister of Basic Education reconfirmed its commitment to vision screenings and treatment for every school child in the country by 2021. This effort will make Botswana the first country in the world to provide eye health screening to an entire generation of school children. Of the 2.5 million population of this small African country, approximately 34 percent are under the age of 15. Imagine what a difference vision care for this large population will make to the future of Botswana over the coming years.

Last month, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, in conjunction with Our Children’s Vision campaign and its partners, adopted global guidelines for school screening programs as part of overall healthcare in schools. The guidelines have been years in the making, and as an active member of both of these organizations, the VII applauds this tremendous effort to set global standards to ensure our children can see, learn and be productive.

Around the world, organizations like the Essilor Vision Foundation, One Sight, Helen Keller International, Vision to Learn, and so many others are daily putting glasses on children’s faces. Each one of these changed lives now has an opportunity to become who he or she was always meant to be! If it weren’t for the intervention of charitable actions, many of tomorrow’s leaders may have been left behind.

John F Kennedy once said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” While his statement referred to a healthy economy allowing for improvements in all communities, I believe it has a place in the awareness and advocacy work we are doing for vision as well. When the world is receptive to the need for vision care because they are aware there is a need, all our efforts are exponentially more valuable. And when we work together to create change, each and every step we make takes us further than we could have gone alone. Today, our boats are rising – let’s ride the changing tide together!