Insiyah Bharmal, a member of the Nottingham Dawoodi Bohras, has been working as a qualified optometrist for nearly five years. She is keen to use her skills and expertise to make a difference to communities in the developing world who have little or no access to eyecare services.
Over 90% of the world’s visually impaired people reside in developing countries. Sierra Leone is among the poorest countries in the world. It has one of the most underdeveloped and under-resourced eye care systems on the planet, with only five qualified optometrists among a population of nearly eight million.
Insiyah is planning to travel to Sierra Leone with Vision Action – a UK charity that provides optical aid and services to developing countries in Africa – to help strengthen essential and basic eye care in schools, communities and vision centers. Her visit will include conducting eye tests and distributing glasses to school students, with the hope that this will improve their academic performance.
Insiyah said of her forthcoming trip, “I would love to be able to make a small difference to a very damaged and divided world. This incredible opportunity I’ve been given would be my small contribution to help bridge the gap through the world of optics.”
A project was conducted in Sierra Leone in 2019 with the support of an international childhood blindness programme that allowed screening of 44,000 children and 988 teachers across 159 primary schools across the country. Since then, Vision Action has been working with the government to scale up these services through training different healthcare professionals to provide eye screening programmes.
Insiyah continued, “No one should live in poverty because of their eyesight and no one should have poor eyesight because of poverty.”
Insiyah has been raising money for this project, including a bake sale at her local community centre. She will be traveling to Sierra Leone for two weeks in October 2023. We wish her well!