Women-Led Green Vision Centers: Brighter days ahead for Eti | Orbis

Women-Led Green Vision Centers: Brighter days ahead for Eti

Celebrated on March 8, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness about gender discrimination. At Orbis, we recognize that blindness is a gender issue and are committed to alleviating unequal access to eye care. 112 million more women than men live with vision loss, including blindness.

Around the globe, women and girls face additional barriers to accessing healthcare. Access to household finances and the ability to travel are often more difficult for women, alongside shouldering the vast majority of childcare and household responsibilities, making free time a scarce commodity.

Men also currently make up around 70% of all ophthalmologists globally, providing an extra barrier to access for women who, for cultural or other reasons, would be reluctant to seek care from a man.

To tackle these barriers, we’re spearheading projects like Women-Led Green Vision Centers in Bangladesh. The centers are designed to overcome many of these barriers – women will receive care from female health workers in their local communities without the need to travel long distances. The centers are even subsidized for those unable to afford the cost of treatment.

School student Eti from Bangladesh without her new glasses on

Eti had poor vision, headaches and dizziness which affected her ability to keep up in school.

Eti is a student who lives in Chandpur District, Bangladesh who recently visited the Shahrasti Vision Center – a new Orbis-supported Women-Led Green Vision Center – after months of headaches and dizziness. In the Shahrasti sub-district alone, it is estimated that more than 30,000 people are living with vision loss and a further 3,000 are living with blindness.

The sixth grader, who comes from a family with little money, struggled to see the board in the classroom and was often unable to finish her homework.

But that all changed for the 14-year-old when the new Shahrasti Vision Center opened close to her home. There, she was screened and diagnosed with refractive error and prescribed a free pair of glasses. Now, she can see clearly and the headaches are gone.

Eti tells us: “Other hospitals are far away from our house and traveling there costs a lot. But the vision center is just in our area and makes traveling to it easy on our pockets. I’m very happy with the fact that people of our area with vision problems are being treated at a very low cost.”

School student Eti wearing her new glasses after her screening at Shahrasti Women-led Green Vision Center, Bangladesh

Eti's new glasses have transformed her life at school!

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters and our long history of working with our partners in Bangladesh, we're able to reach more women and girls with improved eye health services – girls just like Eti who can now continue her studies without difficulty.

Orbis has helped establish 36 community-based vision centers in Bangladesh, each one serving around 100,000 people. Four of these centres are Women-Led Green Vision Centers. With the help of Orbis supporters and partners in Bangladesh, we plan to develop a further 100 community-based vision centers and five more Women-Led Green Vision Centers.

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You can help more women and girls access quality eye care this International Women’s Day.

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