News

Support for African eyecare

23 September, 2013
Specsavers Newport store director Craig Mackenzie (left) and Ryan Holder (right) with the Vision 4 Africa collection.

Our Newport opticians has lent its support to a community programme set up to help improve the quality of life for people in Africa.

Staff at the Specsavers opticians on the High Street have been fundraising for their colleague Ryan Holder to fly out to Uganda to help provide eyecare for those who desperately need it but cannot afford it. The trip was organised by Vale for Africa, which works to establish links between people from the Vale of Glamorgan and the town of Tororo in eastern Uganda to help improve health, educational and environmental conditions, as well as develop children’s projects to foster well-being and improve quality of life in the region.

Vision 4 Africa

The initial programmes are focusing on eyecare, libraries and education. Ryan will take part in the Vision 4 Africa project along with a group of four students from the optometry department at Cardiff University and two supervisors. Ryan will spend 2 1/2 weeks volunteering at the Benedictine Eye Hospital assisting in refraction clinics and participating in its outreach programme, which involves travelling to surrounding villages to educate school teachers about how to spot eye problems early so they can be treated and do not hinder a child’s progress.

Ryan, 20, from Cardiff, says: ‘I know the trip is going to be hard work, but I can’t wait to get out there and get going. I’ve had my jabs and I’ve also had to prepare myself for what conditions will be like out there, but it will all worth it when I’m able to play my part in helping to provide eyecare to those who desperately need it'. ‘There is an especially high rate of glaucoma in developing countries, so I hope I can help solve as many people's eyesight problems as possible and make a difference in an area that really needs the support of programmes like Vale for Africa.’

Fundraising

Ryan is an optical assistant and currently studying to become a pre-registration optometrist, has already funded the £1,200 it will cost to fly out to the continent, but Ryan’s colleagues at Specsavers are also raising funds to help pay for glasses, treatment and surgeries to help prevent problems such as cataracts.

A grateful Ryan says: ‘I’d like to thank everyone at Specsavers who have been really supportive in allowing me the time away to participate in the project, but also in helping raise funds to help provide real solutions for the people in Uganda.’

Jason Williams, director at Specsavers in Newport, says: ‘We’re delighted to support this charity eyecare programme. The whole team here are really behind Ryan and we want to raise as much money as possible to help provide eyecare for people who would otherwise not be able to afford it. This trip will also be great for Ryan’s optical training and development, and I’m sure he will do a fantastic job'.

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