The following day we make our way back to Tumbatu Island, and this time the boat ride is less peaceful, as heavy rain starts to fall and we pull a large plastic sheet over the boat and huddle underneath to keep dry. I realise just how vital it is that Dr Rajab and his colleagues come out regularly to see the visually impaired children here. The islanders are so far from medical facilities and many families would struggle to afford making the journey.
Today, Dr Rajab and his team are testing the sight of a group of students at Jongwe Secondary School that have been identified by their teachers as potentially having low vision. The team tests the eye sight of 67 children in total, 28 of whom are identified as needing spectacles. It is striking to see the respect that the children show towards the doctors and the eye health staff, almost revering.
Nachum, age 18, is one of the students lucky enough to get her new glasses today. “I noticed I couldn’t see the small letters on the blackboard,” she tells us. She told her parents that she struggled to see, but they couldn’t afford to take her to the hospital on the main island. She’s already noticing a significant improvement in her sight, and tells me she thinks the glasses will make a big difference to her studies.
By Sarah Filbey, Senior Content Producer