iDelivering Eye Care in Rwanda

Delivering Eye Care in Rwanda
Rwandans can now receive local eye care and affordable glasses across the country. Here's how people are receiving the potentially transformational eye care they need...

[{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011203-sds-3246.jpg","text":"The beauty of the \u201cLand of a Thousand Hills\u201d is breathtaking. We are in Rwanda and this is where the story of Vision for a Nation begins\u2026"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-246430-slide-2.jpg","text":"After hearing radio announcements and messages from Community Health Workers, people in the rural district of Gicumbi gather and wait patiently for a vision assessment"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-246432-slide-3.jpg","text":"A nurse collects some basic information from a villager before starting a vision assessment"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-246434-slide-4.jpg","text":"The nurses then use a two-line \u2018tumbling E chart\u2019 to assess a patient\u2019s distance vision. If a patient cannot read the smaller second line in both eyes then they may need glasses and require a pin-hole test."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-246436-slide-5-2-.jpg","text":"If a person scores poorly in their distance vision test and needs glasses then reading the chart through the pin-hole glasses will create an immediate improvement in their vision. If vision stays the same or gets worse in either eye then the person may be suffering from eye disease and is referred for specialist treatment."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-246438-slide-6.jpg","text":"This patient\u2019s distance vision improved when she used the pin-hole glasses \u2013 she therefore requires glasses. The patient received a pair of adjustable glasses that focus at the turn of a dial. A nurse oversees the process to ensure the patient correctly adjusts the power of the lenses."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-246440-slide-7.jpg","text":"If a patient passes a distance vision and pin-hole test, they continue the vision assessment process with a near vision test. A smaller version of the \u2018tumbling E\u2019 chart is used. If a patient cannot read the second line then they need reading glasses."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-246798-018.-vfan-eye-tests-amd-training.jpg","text":"This patient (seated) failed his near vision test and therefore requires reading glasses. He repeats the near vision test this time wearing ready-made reading glasses."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-246444-slide-9.jpg","text":"Vision for a Nation is supporting the Government of Rwanda in an unprecedented initiative to provide all its citizens with access to eye care and affordable glasses"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-246446-slide-10.jpg","text":"Please donate today and give a Rwandan the gift of sight"}]
iFrederic's Story

Frederic's Story
Frederic was close to losing his job as a security guard because he could not see properly. Here's his story...

[{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623854-1.jpg","text":"Meet Frederic, a security guard at Rwanda Trading Company (RTC) in Kigali, Rwanda. Frederic is 56 years old, a husband, and father of three. Frederic secured a job at RTC in 2009 and has been working as security guard there ever since; he walks an hour to work each day, with a spring in his step, as he is both proud of and thankful for his job."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623871-2.jpg","text":"Reading and writing are required for almost every aspect of his work: verifying other workers\u2019 I.D. cards at the beginning and end of each day, reading and recording license plates for all vehicles entering and exiting premises, writing in the visitor\u2019s log, and recording the weight of coffee on trucks."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623873-3.jpg","text":"This job is important to Frederic because it enables him to provide for his family. His wife Therese, 20-year old son Duvalier, 7-year-old son Gebril, and 4-year old daughter Violet, are his whole world; they are his pride and joy, and his first thought when he awakes each morning."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623875-4.jpg","text":"Frederic does not take them for granted \u2013 especially as they are his second family. \u201cI had a family before, but because of the war, all my first family died.\u201d He lost his wife, a 17-year-old son, and 14- and 11-year-old daughters in the devastating1994 Genocide."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623877-5.jpg","text":"A few years ago, Frederic started to experience blurry vision, and it gradually became increasingly difficult for him to read and write \u2013 the two most critical skills for his work. Soon he was unable to read well or to write clearly, or even in a straight line."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623879-6.jpg","text":"Frederic found himself often worrying that he might lose his job without them and worrying for the welfare of his family if he was out of work. It got so bad that he was about to resign from his job, because he was unable to perform his duties."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623881-7.jpg","text":"Frederic knew that glasses were the solution to his vision problems, but he was simply unable to afford them, \u201cAll the money I earn I use to support my children \u2013 there is nothing extra \u2013 so I did not have the money to correct my vision,\u201d he says."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623883-8.jpg","text":"Frederic received a pair of reading glasses from Vision for a Nation. \u201cI now have normal vision because of the glasses, and I am happy with them,\u201d exudes Frederic. \u201cIt is the solution that I searched for; my work requires reading and writing, and I could no longer do either, so my vision problems were about to cost me my work\u2026 So this intervention saved my job.\u201d "},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623886-9.jpg","text":"The impact of restored sight in Frederic\u2019s life is clear: Frederic not only retained his job, but just two months later, he was promoted to be the head of all security for RTC."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623887-10.jpg","text":"Through his job, Frederic is proud to have the ability to continue to meet his children\u2019s daily needs, \u201cSo that I can make them happy, they can feel proud in society, and they don\u2019t have to go outside the home or get in trouble to meet their needs and wants.\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623889-11.jpg","text":"When asked what he hopes for his family, Frederic says: \u201c[I hope that] little by little, day by day, we will improve our lives, and perhaps my children can achieve their dreams.\u201d\n\nPlease support Vision for a Nation to help more people like Frederic: to restore dignity and hope and to help make the next generation\u2019s dreams a reality."}]
iConstazia's Story

Constazia's Story
Constazia regained her independence when she received glasses. Here's her story...

[{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023479-c1.png","text":"Ruhango District is known these days for producing the largest quantities of avocado, lemon, sweet orange, onion, leek, and crossbred cattle in Rwanda\u2026 yet its fertile green hills were once the backdrop to unspeakable devastation during the 1994 Genocide."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023481-c2.png","text":"Out of the ashes of the genocide, many Ruhango residents have had to find a way to cling to hope and to rebuild their lives."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023483-c3.png","text":"At the age of 38, Constazia lost her husband and one of their six children during the genocide. She and her other five children survived together, rebuilding their lives incrementally over the past 21 years. Constazia spent many of those years feeling isolated in her grief, surrounded by people but not by many who could empathise with her experience."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023485-c4.png","text":"Upon joining the Association of Genocide Widows and Widowers (AVEGA) five years ago, she found a sense of communion and support; \u201cIt is so good to meet and share different ideas [with these women], and also to help each other to solve problems; it\u2019s more than a family,\u201d she explains."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023487-c5.png","text":"About 3 years ago, Constazia\u2019s vision started to fail her, eventually getting so severe that she was unable to see who was coming right in front of her, or even her own body. \u201cI felt like was going to die; I thought it was because am old; I thought \u2018I am going to be blind forever.\u2019 \u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023489-c6.png","text":"Several times she went to the district hospital for treatment and they gave her eye drops, but it did not help at all. \u201cThe last time I went and again they could not help me, I felt it was because I am old... Also some people discouraged me\u2026 and I thought we had no skilled doctors [in this country]. But I did not lose hope for the future.\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023491-c7.png","text":"One morning, Constazia received a call from her local AVEGA representative inviting her to participate in a free vision clinic. For two years running, Vision for a Nation has commemorated the Rwandan genocide by conducting free primary eye care clinics for genocide survivors across the country."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023493-c8.png","text":"\u201cWhen I heard that this eye clinic was going to happen today, I couldn\u2019t wait to come\u2026 From the time I arrived, I felt so happy how people were caring for me...\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023499-c9.png","text":"\u201cWhen we entered at the reception, we thought they would ask for some fee, but they didn\u2019t\u2026 I am overwhelmed.\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023500-c10.png","text":"Constazia also highlighted the fact that she felt they conducted the screening professionally, \u201cwith lots of love and care.\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023501-c11.png","text":"\u201cFor me personally, as a Genocide Survivor, it made me feel that God loves us so much\u2026 I feel proud and strong to be an AVEGA member who was cared for today, [and] I am happy these friends of Rwanda came to help us.\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023502-c12.png","text":"Constazia was prescribed and given eyeglasses for the first time that day, and she noticed an immediate improvement in her eyesight."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023503-c13.png","text":"When asked about the impact of improved vision on her life, she did not hesitate for a moment: \u201cThese glasses will be so helpful to me; I will be able to do what I wasn\u2019t able to do, and to do it for myself. I am so happy to feel more independent again.\u201d"}]
iVeneranda's Story

Veneranda's Story
Veneranda lost her entire family during the Genocide and has suffered from poor vision for years. Here's her story...

[{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023459-v1.png","text":"When Veneranda smiles, her whole countenance lights up, and her often-solemn expression is transformed by a quiet but genuine joy. In these moments, it is difficult to perceive the deep sorrow that coexists within Veneranda, which began 21 years ago\u2026 "},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023460-v2.png","text":"\u201cI had a husband and five children,\u201d she explains, \u201cbut all of them died during the Genocide.\u201d After the Genocide, Veneranda took in five orphans and her late daughter also left her with a grandchild, all of whom she still cares for today."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023461-v3.png","text":"Five years ago, at the age of 45, Veneranda joined the Rwandan Association of Genocide Widows, or AVEGA. She joined AVEGA because she was feeling hopeless; but \u201cthen I found people who share the same problems.\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023462-v4.png","text":"\u201cAs fellow Genocide Survivors, we sit and share different ideas with one another\u2026 that builds me up, and I feel like my problems are being reduced\u2026 So you feel you are not alone, and it makes you feel that there is hope for the future.\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023463-v5.png","text":"A few years ago, Veneranda began experiencing vision problems, which first manifested as an \u201cendless headache.\u201d Soon she was unable to mend clothes for her adopted children, and now her vision is so poor that she can no longer cook their family\u2019s staple food of beans, and she is housebound after dark."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023464-v6.png","text":"As her vision problem worsened, Veneranda says \u201cI felt like I was dying; I was so hopeless, because I couldn\u2019t do anything.\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023465-v7.png","text":"However, when Veneranda heard there was going to be a free eye clinic sponsored by Vision for a Nation, she felt happy and she started to allow herself to be hopeful again."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023466-v8.png","text":"\u201cWhen we heard you all were coming to us with skilled doctors, we felt loved and valued, and we felt confident our problems would be reduced,\u201d she recalls. "},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023468-v9.png","text":"Then, \u201cWhen the different doctors were conducting the testing, I felt a sense of dignity. I felt like I am a human being, because there is someone who really cares for me. I felt so precious.\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023470-v10.png","text":"As with most of the Genocide survivors participating in Vision for a Nation\u2019s free annual primary eye care clinics across Rwanda, Veneranda was prescribed simple, yet life-changing, reading glasses."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023471-v11.png","text":"When the doctor identified the correct prescription for her, she noticed the difference immediately, and her face softened into another one of her quiet, twinkly smiles as she realised was able to read the words on the page in front of her. \u201cI feel so good and so blessed; it is so helpful [to have glasses],\u201d she effuses."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023473-v12.png","text":"Veneranda is looking forward to cooking sewing, and reading her Bible again\u2026 \u201cThis will really help me support [the children in my care]; for example, the money I used to take to a tailor I will now be able to use to buy items for our home, because I can sew the kids\u2019 clothes myself,\u201d she remarks with pride..."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4023472-v13.png","text":"\u201c\u2026This will help me a lot, and I will greatly benefit from having improved vision; all my days and my life will be different.\u201d"}]
iTheophile's Story

Theophile's Story
Theophile is reliant on her sight to support her family, but has struggled with poor vision for years. Here's her story...

[{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3994024-sds-1228.jpg","text":"This is Theophile Ingabire. She is in her early 40s and has four children to support. Her husband is unemployed. It takes Theophile 1.5 hours to travel by foot from the breezy hilltop of the suburb of Kabuye to the textiles factory nestled in a valley on the outskirts of Rwanda\u2019s capital, Kigali. She has worked at the factory for 15 years."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3994022-sds-0304.jpg","text":"Theophile is proud of her job, but admits \u201cEmbroidery is difficult work\u201d. Her task begins with reading from a list of names to be embroidered, and accurately entering them into a computer. She then threads a needle on the embroidery machine. After all the names are sewn, she cuts the nametags and double-checks the names are correct."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3994026-sds-0316.jpg","text":"Theophile is totally reliant on her sight \u2013 reading, writing and precision handiwork are essential for her to complete her work. Theophile first realised she had problems with her vision in 2011 when she started struggling to read and experienced dizziness and tearing eyes."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3994006-sds-1464.jpg","text":"Theophile suffered in silence for 7 months before seeking help. In 2012, after several trips to Kibagabaga Hospital, she was offered a pair of reading glasses. At the time, a full price pair would have been prohibitively expensive at $83. With insurance, she was able to purchase them for $8 \u2013 a whole month\u2019s savings for Theophile."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3994028-sds-1457.jpg","text":"Three months later she lost her glasses and was could not afford a replacement pair. \u201cI was hopeless because I did not have the means to buy glasses, and I needed them to do my work\u2026If I lose my job, life will stop.\u201d She feared she would not be able to provide food, school fees, or uniforms for their children."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3994031-sds-0736.jpg","text":"In her personal life, too, Theophile struggled. She could no longer read her Bible or phone at home, and had to stop doing the readings at church. She traditionally did the readings every week, but for this period of time she was unable to; fellow congregants began asking why she stopped, and she had to explain her vision problem to them."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3994050-015.-vfan-eye-tests-amd-training.jpg","text":"Then one day Theophile heard that her local health centre now provided eye care services, including glasses for just $1.50, through the Vision for a Nation programme. \u201cI felt so happy because I knew I would no longer have problems with reading, writing, and using my phone, and that it would improve my entire life \u2013 both my work and personal life\u201d."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3994069-sds-0310.jpg","text":"\u201cNow that I have these glasses, I am not worried [for my job] anymore,\u201d says Theophile. \u201cThe glasses help me in my job, and that way I am able to [continue to] provide for my family. This is a good programme and we are thankful because it made it possible for people without much money to be able to be treated for eye problems\u201d."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3994107-sds-1350.jpg","text":"At home, Theophile can once again help her children with their homework. \u201cThere was a time when I did not have glasses that I could not read [the school] books and help my kids, but now that I have glasses, I am able to help them and they are happy about it.\u201d And she is now able to do readings at her church."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3994172-sds-1157.jpg","text":"Theophile sees that the Vision for a Nation programme has made a big difference to peoples\u2019 lives; now they don\u2019t have to get referrals to hospitals, pay transport costs, or pay too much for glasses, it has reduced the expense and increased the accessibility of eye care services for all Rwandans."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3994096-sds-1250.jpg","text":"Theophile\u2019s situation is one faced by many people around the world: if you cannot see, you cannot work or learn effectively, perhaps at all. Poor vision is a major barrier to securing and keeping paid employment, and shackles the potential of individuals like Theophile. Please join us today to change lives."}]
iFelicien's Story

Felicien's Story
Felicien is a father of five whose life was transformed when he received glasses. Here's his story...

[{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011215-sds-1472.jpg","text":"On the outskirts of Kigali, where the urban landscape starts to give way to small suburban farms and flame trees, Felicien Senzoga lives with his wife and their five children. Felicien is the sole income-earner for the seven of them, since his wife\u2019s full-time job is caring for the children. Due to financial challenges and needing to start earning an income, he left school at the age of 12 to go to tailoring school, and has been working as a tailor ever since."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011217-sds-1845.jpg","text":"In his spare time, he enjoys reading and helping his children with their homework. Reflecting on his own life and his children\u2019s future, Felicien says: \u201cI place high value on their education, because I can now support my family because of something I studied\u2026 And if I had been able to continue school, I would have been able to provide for my family in a better way.\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011219-sds-0535.jpg","text":"Felicien has worked at UTEXRWA, a textiles factory in Rwanda\u2019s capital, for the past 14 years. He works on the factory line as part of a group of tailors, sewing or embroidering one item on an article of clothing at a time \u2013 a button or button hole, a sleeve, a collar, etc. Felicien relies upon good vision for every aspect of his job. He threads a needle dozens of times per day, while embroidering and sewing buttons."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011221-sds-0385.jpg","text":"Felicien\u2019s vision began deteriorating in mid-2012. He recalls noticing it for the first time while threading a needle; he felt strain on his eyes as he struggled to do it. Over the next two years, the problem grew worse. \u201cI was worried because I was not performing properly at work,\u201d he says; \u2018it would take 10 minutes to do what previously took me 5 minutes,\u201d and he worried that within a few years he would not be able to work at all, and would lose his job."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011223-sds-0194.jpg","text":"During this time, Felicien did not seek treatment because he did not initially think that his vision problem was that serious; then, once it became unbearable, he did not have the financial means to pay for an eye exam or glasses, which he estimated amounted to several almost a year of savings. \u201cWhen I get paid, I first think about my family and their needs,\u201d he says, and with a family of seven and a modest salary, there is almost never enough money left over for unexpected costs."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011227-sds-2175.jpg","text":"\u201cMy family\u2019s life would have gone backwards, because I am the one who provides for them, so they are dependent upon my job. There is no other income or financial help that we get; it is only me.\u201d Given the high value he places on his children\u2019s education, Felicien especially worried that \u201ctheir life in school would change; if a kid doesn\u2019t eat, they can\u2019t study properly because their [ability to] think changes.\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011228-032.-vfan-eye-tests-amd-training-copy.jpg","text":"One day at work, Felicien and his colleagues were told that Vision for a Nation was coming to screen all workers over age forty, and wrote their names on a list, including his. The following day, he was screened, \u201cThey told me that +1.5 indicated the strength of glasses I needed, and that I could take it to a health centre anytime and get glasses for only $1.50, with insurance\u2026 but then they also gave me the glasses at the same time, for free!\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3994050-015.-vfan-eye-tests-amd-training.jpg","text":"Felicien recollects the moment he received the correct glasses to try: \u201cI could suddenly see clearly, without struggling\u2026 Before, when doing the test [without glasses], I could not read at all; with the glasses, I could read [the chart] without trying hard at all.\u201d\u2026\u201cIt made me happy and gave me hope that [my] life would continue,\u201d Felicien says."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011230-sds-0409.jpg","text":"Felicien can now see the needle and thread perfectly, \u201cI don\u2019t have to strain my eyes now, and I can work without getting tired\u2026 before, I would get tired from the strain, but now when I put on the glasses, the work goes easily.\u201d Whereas it used to take him 5 minutes to thread or re-thread a needle, it now takes him only one minute, and what used to take him 20 minutes to sew now takes him only 7 minutes."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011232-sds-1930.jpg","text":"Now that he once more feels secure in his job, Felicien dreams of a bright future for his children: \u201cIf my kids are able to study [and do well in school], they can even go farther than I have gone; they will be able to have a better life, and to provide for themselves.\u201d Felicien hopes that they will have a very good life: \u201cto find jobs easily, to work for their country, to be self-sufficient,\u201d and to achieve their own dreams."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011234-sds-0224.jpg","text":"Ever since Felicien was screened, he has carried the prescription in his wallet, so that he can replace his glasses immediately, if ever necessary. He says, \u201cI know that if I lose my glasses, I will be able to get new ones easily and affordably.\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011236-sds-2030.jpg","text":"Vision for a Nation is helping tens of thousands of people like Felicien and the many more children and family members who indirectly benefit. We urgently need your support to transform the vision and lives of an entire nation. Please make a donation today."}]
iZaina's Story

Zaina's Story
Zaina was struggling with her job as a coffee bean sorter because of her deteriorating eyesight. Here's her story...

[{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623139-shutterstock-161247860.jpg","text":"Rwanda depends heavily on agriculture as the main source of export revenue, and on coffee and tea in particular. In recent years, the traditional exports \u2014 coffee, tea, pyrethrum, hides and skins \u2014 have represented 71 per cent of the country\u2019s export revenue, with coffee and tea constituting more than 90 percent of the value of export crops."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623961-img-0628.jpg","text":"Meet Zaina; at 65 years old, she is one of the most senior coffee sorters at Rwanda Trading Company (RTC) in Kigali. When asked how long she has worked there, Zaina laughs self-consciously and confesses it has been so long that she can\u2019t remember exactly, but estimates she started around 20 years ago in 1995"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623939-picture12.jpg","text":"Prior to coming to work at RTC, Zaina worked in the fields as a seasonal worker, cultivating crops on behalf of others. When the area she lived and worked in became urbanised, Zaina\u2019s livelihood, along with it, disappeared into the blur of the sprawling urban landscape of Kigali. Being in her mid-forties, Zaina knew her employment opportunities were limited; yet as a widow with four children dependent upon her, finding a good job was critical. One day as she was passing by RTC, she decided to stop and ask if they had a job for her, and was delighted to find that they did."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623958-img-0690.jpg","text":"\u201cI was lucky to get this job,\u201d Zaina reflects. She has continued to work at RTC for the past 20 years because it is the best available job for her age and skill set, and gives her a dignified livelihood. Other options might include working as a gardener or a cleaner, but she estimates that both would be more physically demanding, and likely pay less, too. \u201cLook at me,\u201d Zaina says, \u201cI am old, and this is the best job for me, because it doesn\u2019t require a lot of energy.\u201d "},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623944-img-0522-edit.jpg","text":"Working as a coffee sorter enables Zaina to manage her affairs at home and to support her children, including an adult son who still lives with her due to mental health problems. It is clear as she speaks that working at RTC gives Zaina a sense of purpose, place, and pride \u2013 particularly when she is able to do her job well."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623946-img-0214.jpg","text":"Zaina\u2019s work as a coffee sorter is to see and pick out foreign matter (like stones) and the defective or sub-standard coffee beans: beans that are broken, discoloured, or too small. The higher the quality of the beans in a batch of coffee, the higher the score they receive in grading, and thus the higher the profit for the manufacturer, as buyers search and pay for the top quality beans within each grade of coffee."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623950-img-0604.jpg","text":"A few years ago Zaina started to experience difficulty in sorting due to deteriorating vision. She found she could not see the beans clearly, and as a result, she could not sort at an adequate speed and often had to re-do her work because of mistakes. Zaina was already grouped with the most error-prone workers, whose work requires extra review, and risked job insecurity if she continued to perform so poorly. However, she did not have the means to get glasses."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623952-img-0518.jpg","text":"One day at RTC, while Zaina was busy sorting coffee \u2013 as she has done for over 7,000 days in the last 20 years \u2013 something out of the ordinary transpired. Vision for a Nation came to RTC to screen workers and to distribute glasses."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623954-img-0595-copy.jpg","text":"Zaina was told by the attending nurse that she needed near vision glasses; a week later, she received her first pair of glasses, and her life was indelibly impacted."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623956-img-0610-edit.jpg","text":"When asked what the best thing about having glasses is, Zaina says \u201c[they] help me do my work, and now I can sort well and meet my quota,\u201d which was not possible before. \u201cI feel very, very happy, because by doing this job, I can earn money to help my family, to buy beans to eat\u2026 I am even proud with all my body,\u201d she says \u2013 emphatically embracing herself \u2013 because she is able to please her boss, and herself, with her good work."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-3623958-img-0690.jpg","text":"She explains that performing well at her trade gives her not only pride, but also job stability, and therefore, the better she is able to work, the more she is able to continue to care for her disabled child. A tremor comes into her voice as she reflects upon the impact of that day, and concludes, \n\u201cMay God bless you for how you have blessed me\u2026\u201d."}]
iPascal's Story

Pascal's Story
Pascal is one of over 2,000 nurses trained by Vision for a Nation to provide eye care to his fellow Rwandans. Here's his story...

[{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011184-sds-0696.jpg","text":"55 kilometres North of Kigali, nestled in the verdant hills of Gicumbi District, in the Northern Province of Rwanda, lies a small rural health centre called Mukono Centre de Sant\u00e9 (H.C.). Mukono H.C. serves a population of 20,000 people living within 13 square kilometres, where 10 nurses treat an average of 35 patients per day for a wide range of health issues."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011182-sds-1146.jpg","text":"Pascal Masengesho is one of the nurses working at Mukono Health Centre. He is from Mukono himself, and after receiving nurse training, he returned to Mukono 9 years ago to serve the people of his community. His wife Pacifique is also a nurse at Mukono H.C. They recently gave birth to their second child, and share a passion for serving the people of Mukono by caring for their basic health needs."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011186-sds-0682.jpg","text":"Several years ago, he recalls, a bright 19-year old secondary student named Regine came to the health centre shortly before her national examinations, complaining of headaches, blurred vision, and difficulty focusing on her lessons. She said she had dealt with these problems for several years, but they had grown steadily worse, and she was now concerned about her ability to perform well in the exams, given her health problems. "},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011188-sds-1024.jpg","text":"Pascal suspected Regine had a vision problem; however, having never received training in eye care, he says \u201cI tried to assess her problem, but ultimately referred her to Byumba Hospital\u2026 In those days, as with Regine, if any vision case came to me, I referred them [automatically] because I did not have the materials nor the knowledge and skills to do vision testing myself.\u201d He felt sorry for Regine, and yet helpless to do anything for her himself."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011189-020.-vfan-eye-tests-amd-training.jpg","text":"Pascal is one of over 1,600 nurses trained by Vision for a Nation through an innovative 3-day course that has been developed by a leading African ophthalmologist. The course adds eye care to the skill set of primary health care nurses and allows them to provide eye screenings and vision assessments, and to diagnose and manage eye allergies and infections, dispense glasses and refer complex cases."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011191-sds-0456.jpg","text":"Pascal feels strongly that the ophthalmic training he received was necessary. \u201cAfter the programme came, we were able to prescribe and deliver glasses [to patients]; We got knowledge about how to assess problems and give prescriptions, and also had the glasses themselves to give.\u201d \u201cThe training was very important,\u201d he insists; \u201cAfter being trained, it was very appreciated by me, our staff, the health centre, and the entire community.\u201d"},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011193-sds-0363.jpg","text":"Pascal says the confidence of the Mukono staff has also increased, and they feel more useful to patients, because they can now treat both general health and eye problems. Mukono nurses used to refer all vision patients to the nearest hospital in Byumba \u2013 22 kilometres and a 3-hour walk away \u2013 since they did not have the resources to address any eye problems, no matter how basic. They can now assess and treat many vision problems, and only need to refer the more complicated cases to Byumba."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011195-sds-0668.jpg","text":"Pascal has witnessed many positive ripple effects of his eye care training at the community level. \u201cOften the people with poor vision are older and not strong or not able to walk long distances to other hospitals.\u201d Now that vision services and glasses are both available and affordable to the community through their local health centres, they no longer have to spend long hours traveling over difficult roads to be prescribed glasses they cannot afford."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011200-sds-0248.jpg","text":"Pascal can think of at least 6 patients he consulted recently for eye problems who remained at home for years \u2013 and in some cases, for decades \u2013 with poor vision because there was nothing the health centre could do for them previously. \u201cWhen patients have had poor vision for a long time and then I give them glasses, it is like I am witnessing miracle after miracle\u2026\u201d He recounts seeing his patients time and again jump up out of their chairs in amazement that they can see."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011199-sds-0261.jpg","text":"Immediately following Pascal\u2019s training in 2012, Regine returned to Mukono H.C. seeking eye care services, because she heard they were now available at her local health centre. \u201cShe was so happy to receive the care here, without having to be referred back and forth to the hospital again. Pascal conducted a vision assessment for Regine and provided her with glasses, which immediately allowed her to \u201cread the bottom line on the [\u2018tumbling E\u2019] chart and see clearly the surroundings outside the window\u201d."},{"url":"http:\/\/d2fyyic8pcxcmc.cloudfront.net\/images\/127-4011202-sds-0001.jpg","text":"\u201cThis training is needed everywhere,\u201d exhorts Pascal, \u201cSo if eye services come close to the population, we can help the community to get eye care near them\u201d. VFAN is training nurses like Pascal all across Rwanda, in order to reach all Rwandans, like Regine. Please support us to make Pascal\u2019s story the norm throughout Rwanda, empowering and equipping many more nurses like him to change lives and to restore sight, for good."}]