Elizabeth is 22, and she’s still in her first year of high school while the rest of her peers are in their second year of university.
She lives in a small village in the Trans Nzoia County in Kenya with her parents and siblings. She had quit school in 2011, having suffered from visual impairment that made studying impossible.
If childhood visual impairment is not identified and managed at an early age, this can lead to poor grades at school and can even mean community exclusion in a student’s adult life. This could have been Elizabeth’s future, but no more.
“I realized my dreams would be shattered without education. It was hard staying home while my younger siblings excelled at school. I felt demeaned and feared people were treating me differently due to my literacy level. I felt hopeless.” Despite the challenges, Elizabeth was determined to go back to school.
Now she’s back in school thanks to PEEK or the Portable Eye Examination Kit project, which is a mobile app that teachers are trained to use to screen students’ vision.
During a school screening exercise, Elizabeth was picked and referred to Kitale Eye Unit, one of our partner hospitals in Kenya. Her father took her to the clinic where she was assessed and diagnosed with low vision, and she was given a low vision telescope to help her read and see more clearly. Now Elizabeth is back in school, and working to make her dreams a reality.
The PEEK project not only trains teachers to conduct school screenings, but supports treatment of students identified with visual impairment. The project also provides orientation for eye care workers in pediatric ophthalmology to help more students like Elizabeth.
Now that we’ve implemented the PEEK project in the Trans Nzoia County in Kenya, we can expand our work to neighboring counties where no school screening projects exist. With support from generous people like you, we can keep impacting entire communities by providing eye care to those who need it. For All The World To See!