The future is bright for star student Serawit | Orbis
Student Serawit from Ethiopia sits in her classroom with her brand new pair of glasses

The future is bright for star student Serawit

This is Serawit, a star student with big ambitions! You wouldn't know it now, but not long ago the 15-year-old from Ethiopia was falling behind at school. Now her life has changed for the better, thanks to a simple pair of glasses – and the generosity of Orbis supporters.

With her family’s blessing, Serawit moved in with her uncle in Arba Minch, a city in rural Ethiopia, as there were no high schools in her community.

Looking forward to a fresh start and progressing in her studies, there was just one thing making life difficult for the grade nine student – she couldn't see very well, and her schoolwork was suffering because of it.

15-year-old student Serawit sits at her desk at school in Arba Minch, Ethiopia

Serawit's deteriorating vision caused her to fall behind in her schoolwork.

At first, she wasn’t aware that her vision was suffering, until one day her teacher noticed the tell-tale signs in her behavior. Serawit would always sit at the front of the class because she had difficulty seeing from a distance. Even then, she would often miss what was going on in class and relied on copying her friend’s notes instead.

Luckily, her teacher was one of 500 teachers trained through an Orbis-led school eye health project to spot the signs of refractive errors and other treatable eye conditions. This particular project aims to tackle conditions like trachoma, cataract, and refractive error in 36 districts across Southwest Ethiopia.

Student Serawit sits with a fellow classmate at their desk at school facing the blackboard in Arba Minch, Ethiopia

Serawit sat at the front of the classroom so she could see better, but it didn't help.

Serawit was then referred to our partner, Arba Minch Hospital, where she was prescribed a pair of glasses that corrected her vision. While it might seem like such a simple thing, these glasses have turned her life around.

Serawit smiles at school wearing her new pair of glasses

Her uncle, Atnafu, added: “My family is very grateful for this support. Serawit showed very good progress in her school performance after getting her eyeglasses. Thank you!

Transforming Eye Care in Classrooms Around the World

A young male student has his eyes tested at a school in Ethiopia

Serawit’s transformation in the classroom has been made possible thanks to Orbis Ethiopia’s school outreach program, which trains schoolteachers to closely monitor and protect the eye health of students in Ethiopia. The three-year project aims to transform the lives of 9,000 vulnerable children and is only possible thanks to the generosity of Orbis supporters.

Given 75% of learning is visual, students like Serawit need access to quality eye care to prevent them from falling behind in their studies, dropping out of school, and diminishing their ability to reach their full potential.

We’re working hard alongside our partners to improve the lives of children like Serawit. Early screening is the most effective way of catching eye problems and ensuring children continue to learn and grow.

A huge thanks to everyone involved for helping us reach more children across Ethiopia with the best possible eye care.

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