Project: Giving Sight in Haiti

Our last stop is at Haiti....

Project: Giving Sight in Haiti

Following the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, Optometry Giving Sight launched an appeal to raise funds for some of the most vulnerable victims – those who cannot see simply because they don’t have a pair of glasses.

Imagine trying to rebuild your life and care for your family with what little you have left. Now imagine doing that without the glasses that allow you to see clearly.


The key eye care professionals and non government organizations (NGOs) involved in the reconstruction effort in Haiti met in May to discuss the next steps in the reconstruction. The medium term reconstruction efforts will focus on the creation of sustainable eye care services - which will be superior to what was available before the earthquake.

This will involve a commitment to train eye care professionals, especially mid level personnel and to ensure that these newly trained people are provided with incentives to work in underserved communities. A National Outreach Program also needs to be established to do more advocacy and promotion in the country in order to screen and refer patients for proper care at eye care facilities.

Plans are also being developed to establish ‘buying groups’ so as to have some consistency in terms of pricing, reliable brands, service and replacement parts. In the past most of the equipment was donated and much of it quickly became unusable if it broke down as there were no trained people to provide maintenance.

In the interim, the focus is on getting existing eye care professionals back to work, especially those whose practices were destroyed.

We still need your help.

Optometry Giving Sight is working with partner organizations including Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (VOSH), the International Center for Eyecare Education (ICEE) and the Caribbean Optometrists Association (CARIOA) to identify and fund projects that will provide emergency relief and assist in the reconstruction process through the establishment of sustainable vision care.

Even before the earthquake, access to vision care for most of Haiti’s population was limited. In the aftermath, Optometry Giving Sight is committed to funding sustainable, quality vision care services including the training of local eye care professionals and the establishment of vision centres.

More about the earthquake
An estimated 200,000 people lost their lives in the earthquake. The earthquake caused five times more deaths per million inhabitants than the second-ranking natural killer, the 1972 earthquake in Nicaragua. (Source Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)) The poorest country in the western hemisphere 70% of people live on less than $2.20 per day Over 4 million people are unemployed (half its population) The earthquake was the worst in two centuries The loss of life from earthquakes is typically 10 times higher in developing countries than the West and the damage can be up to 100 times worse (US Geological Survey)

(Photo above: Children stand inside a new camp site in Croix des Bouquets, Haiti, where some 4000 displaced Haitians have resettled. Photo courtesy of UN Photo/Sophia Paris)

Your final destination should be at Prairie EyeCare Center on October 20th as we join in World Vision Day (308)872-2291.

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