They say “give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.” … but what if you taught a fisherman to fish better. Give him (or her) advanced fishing lessons with the best fisherman around; fishing books explaining the newest, most efficient ways to fish; new and better fishing rods; and a fishing boat! What could they accomplish then? Maybe the fisherman could feed his whole family, his whole community. If he used his newfound knowledge to teach other fisherman maybe he could feed a country.
This is the basic principle of the South Australian-based charity Sight For All. This organisation trains ophthalmologists in developing countries in the more specific skills required to be sub-specialists and perform sight, and in sometimes life, saving treatments.
Sight For All have trained ophthalmologists in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Lao, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Vietnam in 8 different sub-specialties vitero-retina, paediatric ophthalmology, neuro-ophthalmology, contact lens, glaucoma, oculoplastics, cornea and retina/medical retina.
Ophthalmologists across Australia and New Zealand donate 10,000 hours annually to assist in training these fellows (fisherman) in sub-specialitys determined to be of need in the region. This is determined through assessment and research of the local prevalence of ophthalmic disease. They have recently been accredited by the Australian Government, which will provide additional funding and see their reach broaden even further.
The loss of vision has dramatic consequences for people in developing nation’s ability to live and work. Its influence on the cycle of poverty is astronomical. Sight For All’s work is improving the lives of half a million people annually and their impact is growing every year and that is why Sight For All is an organisation I see amazing value in volunteering for.
For more information please visit https://sightforall.org