A member of staff at the opticians in Kirkintilloch has reflected on her time volunteering aboard the Phelophepa Train of Hope in South Africa.

Rewarding experience

Anisah Zahid (21) travelled to the country to volunteer in the train’s eye clinic during a two-week trip.

The optometry student, who works part-time at the local Specsavers opticians and is beginning her pre-registration year at the store next month, enlisted the help of colleagues to help raise the funds needed to make the trip, with several members of staff completing a sponsored cycle.

Anisah said: ‘Volunteering on board the Phelophepa Train of Hope was the most rewarding and fulfilling experience. ‘I loved every second of my time there which included many highs and lows.

I met lots of patients who were so grateful the next day when they tried on their glasses, enabling them to see properly and making a real difference in their lives.

‘There were also a few heartbreaking moments when we encountered patients whose sight was unrecoverable due to a range of conditions that often go undiagnosed without the help of the Train of Hope’s volunteers.

‘It really puts into perspective the fact we often take eye health for granted here at home.’

Fundraising help

Neil Drain, store director at Specsavers in Kirkintilloch, says: ‘We are all very proud of Anisah for volunteering her own time to help those in need in South Africa.

‘We would like to thank everyone who supported our efforts to raise funds to make Anisah’s trip possible.’

The Phelophepa Train of Hope operates two unique trains which serve as mobile healthcare hospitals, bringing much needed medical and educational services to poor rural areas of South Africa.

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