Farzana Jali, optometrist at Specsavers in Romford, has helped save the sight of people in the East African country of Zambia.
Farzana joined a team of British volunteers on a charity trip with Vision Aid Overseas (VAO). During the two-week mission in June the group travelled to a small town hospital in Solwezi where the team screened the eyes of hundreds of people.
Hundreds queue up for eye tests
He also helped set up and establish a permanent eye clinic to help local people receive the continued care they may require in future years. 'I have had such a rewarding experience volunteering for VAO before that I couldn't say no to this opportunity. Lots of people don't have access to eyecare and for a lot of people something as simple as giving them glasses can give them a whole new lease of life.'
'This year I was determined to go for it and now I have done it, I wish I had been sooner. I would definitely like to return.'
As part of the team of volunteers, Farzana would spend up to three hours each day travelling to remote parts of the country for clinics, which would see hundreds of local people queuing up for eye tests.
Zambian eyecare funded by Specsavers
The trip follows the opening of a VAO clinic in its capital Lusaka, in 2011 by Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins. The facility is part of an ongoing plan to provide desperately needed eye care in developing countries. With one in four people in Zambia requiring assistance the clinic, funded by Specsavers UK stores, has also enabled the construction of two outreach clinics and a commitment to fund four more.
Solwezi has high unemployment levels and the majority of the population work in agriculture with restricted access to eye and health care. It is for these reasons that the work of Vision Aid Overseas volunteers is so important.
To donate money to Farzana’s Vision Aid Overseas volunteering project please visit: http://www.justgiving.com/FarzanaJalil