Vision Aid Overseas (VAO) has launched a Christmas appeal calling on supporters to help it raise £50,000 for the provision of school-based eye health services for children and teachers living in Ethiopia, Zambia and Sierra Leone.
The appeal began today (27 November) and will run until 5 December, with industry supporters pledging to double donations made up to the value of £25,000.
Supporting the appeal, newsreader and VAO ambassador, Fiona Bruce, emphasised: “If a child cannot see clearly, their world and opportunities are limited. Unfortunately, for many children across the world, glasses are simply inaccessible and as a result, they cannot learn effectively in school. Girls are particularly vulnerable, as they are more likely to drop out of formal education if poor eyesight means that they underperform in school.
Ms Bruce highlighted that offering eye tests and glasses in the school setting would help thousands of children to take full advantage of all the opportunities that education can provide.”
Organisations that will match donations pledged during the campaign include Topcon, Linda Farrow, Pala Eyewear, Jonathan Hall Opticians, Extech, Retrospecced and the Rotary Club of Worcester.
The donations will be used to support VAO in the training of school teachers to be able to screen children's eyes and identify those who require further examination. The charity will also work with parents and local communities to reach children who are not currently in school and to raise awareness about the importance of eye health.
To make a donation, visit the VAO website.