Ellesmere Port Specsavers optometrist, Sarah Gillam, is raising money to fund an exciting volunteer trip to Gondar, Ethopia with Vision Aid Overseas (VAO).

There are just 129 eyecare professionals in the whole of Ethopia, with a total population of over 100 million scattered across remote and hard to reach areas. Vision Aid Overseas recruits eyecare professionals, like Sarah, to volunteer to provide free eye services and support the training of students in local communities.

Over the two weeks that Sarah is in Gondar she will visit small villages to provide locals with eyecare support at the Vision Aid Overseas outreach clinics.

Sarah will also volunteer at a local university, helping to set up an optometry degree to train more of the population to provide this important health service.

Raising funds for the trip

In order to carry out this work, Sarah must raise £1,700 to cover flights, accommodation, and meals during her trip.

She has raised money already through raffles in store and her JustGiving page, but is in desperate need of support from her local community to help make her dream a reality.

Alex Whitter, locum optometrist from the Ellesmere Port Specsavers store, is also joining her on her first volunteer trip which will take place in January. This will be Alex’s 10th trip with Vision Aid Overseas.

Since 2001, Vision Aid Overseas has sent more than 400 eyecare professionals to Ethiopia. 

A word from Sarah

Sarah Gillam said: ‘I’m excited to volunteer in Gondar, it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do as I am very passionate about helping those in need to improve their eye health. 

‘It’s heart breaking to know that there are so many communities in Ethopia suffering from eye health issues with little care available to them. The work Vision Aid Overseas does is essential to not only provide care but to set up the university courses that will allow future generations to become ophthalmologists.’

A word from the store director

Paul Quinton, store manager of Ellesmere Port Specsavers, said: ‘We’re incredibly proud of both Sarah and Alex for their commitment to such an important organisation and for their fundraising efforts.

'We hope all our customers and the local community support them so that they can join other volunteers in providing vital health care to Ethopian communities in need.’

To support Sarah and help her reach her fundraising goal, please click here 

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