Specsavers Ireland are supporting the Hope Foundation for this years charity mission
After a long day travelling, the team arrived in Kolkata, India for this year’s charity mission with the Hope Foundation. There was no time to stop as they ran a night clinic on their very first evening in Kolkata. Kolkata is home to one of the poorest communities, with 10,000 people living in this single slum: Chitpur.
“families lived in containers stacked upon one another, dozens of people living in tiny spaces on top of one another.” Sinead Clohessy, Optometry Partner
The evening clinic was run in a cramped room that doubled up as the school during the day, with two optometrists testing, two auto refracting and four dispensing opticians. They were also kindly donated a brand-new auto refractor from Birmingham Optical. Which meant the team could tend to even more patients than we did last year – 120 patients in just over two hours!
As quickly as they had arrived in Chitpur the team left for another slum community the following day: Behala. Today the team were tending to underprivileged government sponsored children and their guardians. They had three opticians, two auto refracting and three dispensing and just four hours to tend to the huge queue lined up outside the clinic. Over the four-hour period they saw over 200 patients and dispensed over 130 pairs of frames, as well as referring people to Hope Hospital for cataract surgery.
“We saw children with prescriptions of -4.00 and other patients with prescriptions of -17.00.” Sinead Clohessy, Optometry Partner
Following the day clinic, the group visited The Hope Hospital where they conducted a clinic in the Specsavers funded eye clinic. After seeing a selection of patients, they went to the operating theatre for the inauguration of the YAG Laser machine – which is what our team fundraise for. This piece of equipment enables the team of Hope to carry out secondary cataract surgery and will change many lives. The medical teams were incredibly thankful to Specsavers for this incredible piece of machinery.
To finish off the trip the team got the opportunity to meet the 10 students who Specsavers have pledged to sponsor through college, to see them qualified as optometrists and dispensing opticians. This ensures the eye clinic will be future proofed to continue the good work the team have been doing over the last number of years.
“It was incredibly moving to meet the students and their families and to witness how much the opportunity means to them all. We closed out the day with a night clinic that was set up underneath the fly over of a motorway, a community we tended to on last year’s trip. It was just as shocking to see how poor the conditions were that these families were living in, yet the smiles and positivity that we were met with on arrival.” Sinead Clohessy, Optometry Partner