Vision Mission, in partnership with the Southern African Youth Project, presented Diepsloot pupils with much-needed new spectacles, at an event at the Newtown Ster-Kinekor Theatres cinema. Armed with popcorn and a slush, the learners then had the chance to experience the difference a pair of glasses can make, while watching a new release from Ster-Kinekor.

Launched by Ster-Kinekor in 2005, Vision Mission is dedicated to ensuring that disadvantaged learners receive necessary optometric testing and treatment. A massive 75% of cases of blindness can be prevented or treated, especially if problems are identified and treated early on. For many South Africans, however, annual eye tests and medical treatment are unaffordable. Supported by movie-goers, who have the option to add a small donation when buying tickets, Vision Mission therefore sets out to reach such children.

Since 2005, Vision Mission has enabled more than 329 592 disadvantaged learners to receive screening and, where necessary, optometric testing, with more than 14 000 people consequently receiving glasses. The project has funded nine corneal transplants, and provided eye care to homeless children – especially girls – in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Vison Mission has also extended its reach to include learners with albinism, as special attention is needed to protect and enhance their eyesight.

On this occasion Vision Mission and the Southern Africa Youth Project provided spectacles to 89 children from the Rabasotho, Diepsloot and Itireleng secondary schools.

The Southern African Youth Project is a regional non-profit organization dedicated to youth development. In collaboration with local and national governments, businesses, donors and foundations, the Project works to empower and develop communities across the Southern African region, by improving access to technology, education, health and employment. “We believe that addressing this issue is critically important, as poor eyesight can prevent children from reaching their full potential – at school, on the sports field and with their peers,” says Nancy Nghonyama spokesperson for the Southern Africa Youth Project. “Tackling the condition is therefore one way to improve people’s lives and reduce poverty”.

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“Vision Mission’s ultimate goal is to eliminate preventable blindness in South Africa,” says spokesperson for Ster-Kinekor, Geraldine Engelman. “While we’ve achieved a great deal, there is still a long way to go. So, we value partnerships that can assist us to reach the many children who still need optometric treatment – which is why we have chosen to collaborate with the Southern Africa Youth Project.

“Thanks to this partnership, today we got the chance to hand over more spectacles, and once again see what a huge difference our combined contributions can make.”