The reasons behind Humbly I Serve’s mission to reach people through the gift of vision
We could dig deep into all the facts and statistics about visual impairment to describe why Humbly I Serve uses eye care to reach out to those in need. Statistics are great; they give us the ‘big picture’. They can provide those “WOW!” moments when used to shock a crowd. However, the problem with statistics is that, over time, those numbers become devalued to exactly that – just numbers. Although each number represents a beautiful and unique human life, it is difficult to recognize the immense value of that life in a statement such as, “An estimated 19 million children are visually impaired” (who.int). While that shocks a crowd, it can be discouraging. 19 million is a daunting number. How do you begin to help all those children?
The wonderful thing about Humbly I Serve ministries, particularly the HIS Vision project, is their love and concern for each individual bleeds into all aspects of society, specifically Haiti. Eye care may seem like one simple task, however, it is much bigger than that. The reality is that through the gift of vision and a sustainable eye clinic, Haiti’s need for education and a healthy economy can begin to be fulfilled.
One of our many memorable stories is of a young boy named Stanley* who was the son of the principal at a local Haitian school. Workers at our clinic went into the school to do a free screening and were introduced to Stanley. He was unable to study because of his poor vision, but our clinic workers were able to give him a complete checkup and a free pair of eyeglasses. Stanley’s improvement in school is just one of the many reasons why we love what we do.
What we need to understand is that eye care, education, and poverty are all interconnected. Poor eye health contributes greatly to poverty, leaving many others unable to receive proper education or uphold a job. Which then turns back towards poverty. It is a Catch 22 that many cannot escape without the help and commitment of others willing to step in to aid in this terminal situation. The HIS Vision Project is stepping in to stop the cycle.
Through our eye clinic in Cap Haitian, Haiti, officially opened May 2014, HIS Vision is battling both poor education and poverty through the gift of vision. According to American Optometric Association, roughly 80 percent of learning is done visually. You can imagine how much of an impact vision has on a student’s education. It is a ripple effect; if the student sees better with a pair of glasses, he can focus better in school, while avoiding delinquency and having a better chance of landing a job and making money.
“Poverty is a direct barrier to education. Approximately half the world’s population lives on less than $2 per day and many are too busy struggling to survive to consider education a priority” (SOURCE). Haiti is included in that $2 a day spectrum. The HIS Vision project goes beyond helping people be able to see and grant them access to eye care. We are investing in the socioeconomic growth of Haiti through the eye clinic. By both treating the locals and offering an eye care education program for them, we are creating a sustaining business model that can give Haitians the tools and education needed to build up their economy. The goal is not to provide a bandaid for the problem. HIS Vision wants to help make the future of Haiti a better place to be, and the first step is eye care.
According to Uniteforsight.org, “Poverty and blindness are believed to be intimately linked, with poverty predisposing to blindness, and blindness exacerbating poverty by limiting employment opportunities, or by incurring treatment cost… Thus, it is evident that disabilities such as blindness may not only be a result of living in poverty, but also may lead an individual or family to become impoverished. ‘Sadly, disability is both caused by poverty and causes poverty.’”
Although it may seem impossible to reverse the effects of poverty in an entire country of 10 million people, we believe that anything is possible with God on our side. The team at Humbly I Serve ministries continues to look forward and dream big!
If you would like to learn more about what we are doing throughout our local area in Virginia, please visit our previous blog, HIS Vision Project Reaches Locals Through Sponsor Sight Program.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28
*Name changed for confidentiality purposes