Essilor Vision Foundation (EVF) marked the beginning of a long-term partnership with the renowned Singapore Polytechnic in 2014 with a project that took students and lecturers into a remote area of Indonesia.
Over the course of almost two weeks, 25 students and 2 lecturers tested over 2000 local villagers and fitted over 1,300 with ready to clip 2.5 NVG lenses and sunglasses. The program was part of an annual outreach component to the Diploma in Optometry course at the Polytechnic, which exposes students to the challenges and rewards of providing eye care in rural areas.
“It was inspiring to see everyone putting in their 100% no matter how tired we were. Everyone had a smile on their faces no matter how tough it was. It felt very fulfilling to see the villagers walk out of the area with a smile,” Nur Hidayah Binte Ahssan, a Year 2 student said.
Communication was an issue on this trip. Although the students received Bahasa Indonesia language training, many of the villagers in the 10 separate sites they visited spoke different dialects, which is not unusual in this part of the world.
However, despite the challenges, the students found it an inspiring and fulfilling experience that will hopefully stand them in good stead as they begin their careers.
Singapore Polytechnic is EVF Singapore’s local partner in screening beneficiaries in the region. The foundation is proud to sponsor the products needed and will continue to support such meaningful events. There are plans to conduct a similar outreach program in Myanmar next year.