This year, Adopt-a-School Foundation and Dr Dire Thomas travelled to various rural communities in South Africa and Lesotho to fit spectacles to over 5000 learners in 32 schools under our adoption programme. Most of these children have never had the opportunity to visit an optometrist or access to medical attention of this nature and is often underestimated the impact a pair of spectacles can make in the learning experience of a child.
More than 16000 learners were screened and tested for any visual irregularities and allergies. A number of different conditions were identified, including Myopia, Amblyopia, Hyperopia, Astigmatism, Octopic Atropy and Anisometropia. A total of 506 pupils were fitted with spectacles. Isulihle Primary school in Soweto, Gauteng was where the largest number of spectacles ever dispensed. Grade 5 learner, Thando Radebe who has albinism said “I have always had challenges with my eye sight, I sit closest to the chalkboard next to my teacher. My spectacles already make a big difference.”
This journey has not only impacted the school children. It has also created the opportunity for Dr Dire to employ youth from the communities in the fundamental techniques of vision screening and referral practices. Through this, more than 30 temporary job opportunities were created.