Like many developing countries with a young and growing population, Morocco understands the importance of investing in education and life opportunities. Yet there are significant numbers of children who still lack vision correction, impacting their learning and future potential. Phase two of a national vision care program supported by Essilor Vision For Life began to reveal the improvement that a pair of glasses can bring.

The vision care program was initially launched in January 2015, targeting children in the town of Ain Harrouda, situated on the north coast between Casablanca and Mohammedia, the centre of Morocco’s petroleum industry. In its first visual health campaign, nearly 300 children were equipped with corrective glasses.

In September, phase two of the program was launched, widening the scope to involve school children plus young women living locally. In parts of Africa, women can miss out on access to national health initiatives due to socio-cultural barriers. Conducted in partnership with local association Nahdat Zenata (Mutual Aid and Solidarity), the project mobilized volunteer teams from L’N Optic, an Essilor optics laboratory in the region, as well as ophthalmologists from the Mohammedia regional hospital.

In parts of Africa, women can miss out on access to national health initiatives due to socio-cultural barriers

In all, 500 young children and women were found to need vision correction – giving specialists from L’N Optic the logistics challenge of preparing glasses adapted to each person’s individual prescriptions within a few short weeks. Volunteers returned to Ain Harrouda on October 8 – World Sight Day for a special celebration with local dignitaries and press and to distribute the new equipment. It was also an opportunity to see the impact of the program, according to one Essilor volunteer:

“Two children we equipped in January came back to show us the progress they had made in their studies since getting glasses. Seeing their school reports really brought home what a difference clear vision can make.”

The event also aimed to mark the importance of National Women’s Day in Morocco (10 October) by underlining the benefits that vision correction can bring to improving the autonomy and quality of daily life of women of all ages.