Bad eyesight and struggling in class is a reality for many disadvantaged schoolchildren, but now learning will be much easier for 40 of them.
The youngsters, who attend Emfundisweni Primary School on 12th Avenue, received prescription glasses from non-government organisation, Vision4Change, with sponsorship from health investment company, Afrocentric Health.
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This came after the two companies saw a need for prescription glasses for children who were not doing well in school because of poor eyesight. Junior fundraiser at Vision4Change, Cindy Mokoena, said they have been running the project, Vision is Vital, for years as a way to give back to needy communities.
“We go to disadvantaged schools all over the country and perform eye tests on all the children of that school and provide glasses to the ones who need them,” Mokoena said.
She added that the project aims to empower children who are affected by poor eyesight to stay in school so they can go on to make something of their lives. “We do not want anything standing in front of them getting a good education.”
Principal of the school, Thembakazi Giyama, said she was happy about the donation. “This used to be a big problem to the teachers because learners were behind with their school work, this is going to bring relief to us,” she said.
She explained that the problem used to cause a lot of delays in the curriculum because teachers had to spend a lot of time making sure children are up to date with their work.
Nonhlanhla Nxumalo’s grandmother, Constance, said her granddaughter had to repeat Grade 6 this year because she could not do her schoolwork properly. “Whenever Nonhlanhla had to do her schoolwork, she would struggle a lot. Sometimes she would say she did not have any schoolwork because this really demotivated her,” the emotional grandmother said.
She believes the glasses will help Nonhlanhla do better at school. “She is a smart child and this really affected her confidence badly.”
Head of transformation at Afrocentric, Palesa Modisane, said the company decided to sponsor this initiative because a lot of parents in the community could not afford to get their children spectacles.
“For many children in the townships, having prescription glasses is a privilege, so we wanted to raise awareness on such issues that children can do better in school if they have what they need,” she said.
Modisane encouraged parents to take notice of their children’s behaviour as this can make them aware that their child might need help. “Sometimes we would think that a child has a learning disorder or is not interested in their school work, but only find out later that the child has eyesight problems.”
Modisane said Afrocentric Health would go back to the school in December to help improve the structure and try to provide them with what they might need.