Giving better sight to Tanzania

We all know that our eyesight is something to cherish – at Specsavers, we’re advising our customers to have their eyes tested at least once every two years. But not everyone is as fortunate as Northern Europeans and has an optician around the corner – let alone money to buy a good pair of glasses. That’s why we started our Give Sight to Tanzania programme back in 2010. In 2018, volunteers from Specsavers/Louis Nielsen stores and support offices travelled to Tanzania again to run eye tests and hand out recycled glasses, donated by our customers.

One of the volunteers was Marja Sivonen, Learning and Technology Manager at Specsavers and an optometrist herself: “I was privileged to be one of the volunteers travelling on behalf of Specsavers Finland to Zanzibar in December 2018. We spent one week testing people’s eyes and handing out suitable glasses for local people, from babies to grannies. With four optometrists we were able to help more than 1000 people in five days – our busiest day meant 268 eye tests! The biggest prescription was for a 24-year-old girl, with over -20 in the right eye, and -19.25 and cylinder -2.50 in the left– incredible that she could see again after we donated the glasses. Another one with great minus was a man who came by car and had over -9.0 in both eyes!”

Heidi Skytt Knudsen, an optician from the Næstved store in Denmark, went to the town of Arusha in northern Tanzania for a week: “We had a special focus on children – it’s so sad to see children who have poor eye sight, as they can’t attend school or have proper work. One of the stories I remember clearly is of the nine-year-old Daniel, who had troubles to follow lessons at school. It turned out that he had -6.50 in both eyes. I gave him a pair that fitted perfectly, and the moment he got the glasses on, it was clear that he could see again. These moments make this trip memorable.”

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