Global Vision 2020 is being used by teams all over the world. Every day, hundreds of people receive glasses delivered by local healthcare professionals in a sustainable way; for under $4 a pair. This report contains three stories from around the world, highlighting the necessity of prescription eyeglasses to those who otherwise have no access.
Rick Cornelsen, a recently retired commercial pilot who flew water bombers for the Canadian government, has found his dream retirement job: bringing prescription glasses to the poor of Guatemala. Out of his own personal savings, Rick bought a few thousand glasses for his friend, Caesar Romaros. Romaros runs a holistic ministry for the poor in rural Guatemala.
Here are Cornelsen and Romaros’ two favorite stories from the last few weeks:
One young lady could not see the top line on the eye chart. A few moments later, she was given a prescribed pair of glasses, and could see 20/30. When she saw her two aunties that had brought her to the eye clinic, she laughed, cried, and shouted for joy. This was her first time seeing them so clearly.
Another young woman came with almost the exact same results, but her reaction to seeing clearly for the first time was even more priceless. Cornelsen wanted to show the woman some flowers for the first time. The woman reportedly said that she did not care to see flowers, instead, she wanted to see her baby and her husband. When she was able to see them, everyone in the room wept for joy. Cornelsen reported that it was the most beautiful sight: a mother seeing her baby for the first time. The tears briefly stopped when the woman looked up at her husband and remarked, “He’s even better looking than I imagined!”
Rick Hiebert, a professor of Architecture at the University of Manitoba, along with a team of eleven others flew from Canada to Thailand to provide aid to refugees from Myanmar. Hiebert and the team ran an eyeglasses clinic for four days, partnering with a local healthcare team.
On the first day of running the clinic, Hiebert’s team noticed that their driver could not see well, and they encouraged him to get his eyes tested. They found that the driver could only see 20/80. Five minutes later, the team made him a pair of glasses that allowed him to see 20/20. This was a relief both for the driver and the team!
Hiebert’s team had many stories to tell, but one highlight was with a 15-year-old student who was struggling in school. When the team tested him, the student could only see 20/100. A few moments later he was able to see 20/30. The student was in a state of shock, completely speechless. He hugged them all and thanked them repeatedly.
Over these four days, the team distributed over 230 glasses. On the final day of running the clinic, the Canadian team handed the entire system and remaining supplies over the local team. Since this time, the local team has independently run six more clinics for local communities in their region.
Finally, this report will close with a story from Turkey. Last November, a team from my church in Winnipeg flew out to Turkey to bring Muwafaq, an individual connected to the church, a glasses kit. Muwafaq is a refugee from Iraq and is currently living in Turkey with his family. The team trained Muwafaq how to use the kit, and he has been making glasses for his local community since.
Muwafaq has helped many people get access to glasses, including a young nurse who had recently escaped from Afghanistan. As she had fled from the violence, she had lost her glasses. Without glasses, she could only see 20/80, but after receiving a pair of glasses, she could see 20/20. She was so happy to be able to see again.
Dozens of teams from all over the world will be heading out over the next few weeks all over the world, repeating the stories from above. And all of them will be leaving the Global Vision 2020 kits behind to continue being used by local health care providers that get prescription glasses onto the faces of the poor for under $4 a pair.
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