There are many challenges that undermine effective learning at Phangindawo Primary School in Cato Ridge, KZN. As part of Whole School Development, the Foundation runs a visual support programme which brings eye-sight testing clinics to schools in rural and township areas and provides spectacles to learners with visual impairments. In partnership with funder, Beiersdorf Consumer Products, 450 learners received eyesight testing and 55 learners were found to have visual problems. Four learners were referred to an ophthalmologist for more serious conditions and another 4 learners were diagnosed with minor allergies and prescribed medication. 47 learners received spectacles. Parents and guardians were invited to learn more about their children’s conditions and the optometrist explained how to take care of their spectacles and their eyes.
While it is critical to address the inadequacies in school infrastructure and the gaps in curriculum delivery, there are many other dimensions that impact on a child’s ability to learn, such as poor eyesight. Since the Foundation started this programme in 2011, we have tested over 10 000 learners and provided more than 10% of those learners with spectacles and further medical support.