To further professionalize primary vision care in Indonesia, our social impact fund Vision For Life has partnered with ARO GAPOPIN, the academy of Optometry and Optometry Refraction. Vision for Life will provide 50 scholarships to encourage vision care micro-entrepreneurs to upgrade their skills and be professionally certified with a Refractive Optometry (RO) qualification.
In Indonesia around 35,000 men and women operate like a mobile optical service, travelling around on motorbikes to perform basic vision screening and provide vision care solutions to people in remote areas who suffer from uncorrected poor vision. Their training is often informal, and skills are usually learnt from family, friends, or from previously working in optical stores. They are not formally recognized as professional opticians, which is an issue as the government of Indonesia requires professional opticians to possess a RO qualification.
To address this, Essilor’s inclusive business 2.5 New Vision Generation created the Mitra Mata Optician (Friend of the Eye in Bahasa) program in 2017, enabling these entrepreneurs to pursue professional development through a three-year course and receive a RO qualification. However, embarking on professional training can be a big financial commitment. The scholarships offered will cover 50% of the tuition fees for the RO course conducted at ARO GAPOPIN and help provide quality primary vision care and access to affordable vision care solutions in remote regions where there is little to no access to professional optometrists.
In helping to advance the development of primary vision care providers in Indonesia and creating more sustainable access points, this partnership is a great example of how the private sector and industry organizations can come together to create real impact as outlined in our ‘Eliminating Poor Vision in a Generation’ report. Everyone can play a part in bringing good vision to everyone everywhere. By rallying together and leveraging our respective strengths to create greater access and awareness around vision care, we can achieve our ambition of eliminating uncorrected poor vision by 2050.