Project Mercy: Update on the glasses project - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Project Mercy: Update on the glasses project

YETEBON, Ethiopia (WXOW) - We have an update on the stories we've brought you regarding students with vision problems at the Project Mercy compound in Ethiopia.

When a volunteer group from Gundersen Health System did their work at Project Mercy in March, they found volunteer teacher Meghan Smith trying to deal with students who were having difficulty seeing the blackboard in class. None of the 1,500 children in school at Project Mercy wore glasses.

Through a group effort, they were able to help screen a number of children and identify the ones with the worst problems with their vision.

Earlier this month, Amy Du Pont, who traveled with the Gundersen group to document their efforts, had an update on the work to get glasses for some of the students.

On Saturday, Smith sent an update from Ethiopia about the progress being made.

I have taken 25 students to the eye clinic in Butajira. This was the group with the worst eyesight; 10 have received glasses and the remaining 15 were unable to have their vision corrected with glasses. Corneal scars, inflammation and “unknown reasons” were given from the eye doctors. There are an additional 37 students I intend to take within the next few weeks. After visiting and talking to the eye doctors, I understand the importance of early screenings. The doctors mentioned that many of the eye problems that could not be corrected with glasses were due to trachoma, transmitted by flies when the children are young and allow the flies to land around their eyes. These beautiful students are looking at a new and brighter future simply by having better vision, which allows them to stay in school, function better at their tasks and overall improve their quality of life. Isn’t it amazing what ‘little’ effort in our lives can impact these students for a better future.

What a privilege and a blessing…. thanks for being a part of it all.

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