When first seeing the socioeconomic state in a country like Haiti, striving for a goal of sustainable change could be looked at a impossible or even as a worthless endeavor. Just standing in the streets of Cap Haitien, watching amidst the chaos of bikes, motos, tap taps (taxis) and pediatricians, is overwhelming. Seeing the poverty-stricken people living on the small hope of having something to provide for their families, not even able to plan for tomorrow, but focused on surviving for the day, or the next hour, or second.
In that moment, it’s very hard to think realistically that this chaos could change.
Driving over the bridge filled with sewage and trash, the smell burning into your nose and mouth, it’s unimaginable to even picture water underneath you.
In that moment, you wonder, is sustainable change even possible?
How could something so devastated, so chaotic, so big- even have a chance at change?
There is a quote, “A journey of a thousands miles begins with one step.”
And when does someone have the confidence to take that first step?
When they can see.
The HIS Vision Project Founder and CEO licensed optician and business owner, Melinda Wilson, had a vision for Haiti from the first moment she stepped into the chaos. With a background in eye health and seeing the lack of eye care throughout the country, she had a vision to make a huge impact in Haiti, starting out with something we usually would view as very small- eyes.
Did you know: Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of moderate and severe visual impairment; cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness in middle- and low-income countries. Also, about 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in low-income settings. According to WHO, “Eye care is the most cost effective way to fight against poverty.”
Not only dreaming to make eye care more available to Haitians, Wilson’s goal was to contribute to the socioeconomic growth in Haiti, through a sustainable eye care business model and eye care education program. After working two and a half years, with various team members, interns and volunteers, the HIS Vision and Medical center was officially opened in May 2014.
HIS Vision is also pleased to announce their current and FIRST long term Health Promotions Intern, Sadie Plasterer. Plasterer is a senior studying Health Promotions at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, VA.
HIS Vision was thrilled and thankful to establish a partnership with Liberty University Health Promotions Department. Plasterer has selected an internship where she is living the University’s mission of “Training Champions for Christ,” through her gift and passion of health promotions.
Plasterer’s main objective is to contribute to HIS Vision’s goal for sustainable change and fight poverty throughout the country through eye health education. This will be done through a few different projects.
First, Plasterer is working to implement the HIS Vision Eye Health Workers Program (EHWP). The EHWP has been designed to ensure proper eye health education is completed among volunteers throughout the Cap Haitien area.
Second, Plasterer will also be working with the clinic medical doctor, Dr. Jeff, MD and eye doctor, Dr. Wesly, OD to coordinate classes to educate Haitians on prominent eye diseases and issues (glaucoma, cataracts, etc) along with common health problems (hypertension, diabetes, etc) within the community.
Third, Plasterer, along with the Haiti clinic staff, will provide eye screenings in local schools. “80% of learning is visual,” Wilson shared. “To truly have an opportunity to break free of poverty, begins with education and that starts with eye care. The screenings will ensure the children in Cap Haiten are given a chance to begin the school year with good eyesight.”
Being in Haiti for almost three weeks, Plasterer has seen the major need for eye heath promotions among the Haitians. Eye health education and health promotions are essential to create sustainable change. “It goes father than a socioeconomic state, these people simply do not understand their need for eye health,” Health Promotions Intern Plasterer said.
Plasterer will return back to Lynchburg at the end of October and will be sharing her ideas, thoughts and blogs throughout her time there.
As the project grows, others are joining and can see that first step is making an impact on many people. HIS Vision is always looking for more people to continue the journey with and work towards sustainable change through eye care in Haiti.
The HIS Vision Project is excited to offer one individual the chance to serve in Cap Haitien, Haiti with a scholarship covering expenses. To apply for this internship, send in your resume and cover letter to firstname.lastname@example.org expressing why you would like to work with the HIS Vision Project and what makes you the best applicant for this opportunity. This must be received via e-mail by Monday, November 10. (For more info, click HERE) International 2015 Spring/Summer internships with a cost are also available, along with domestic internships.
To apply please send your resume and cover letter to email@example.com.