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Sightsavers teams up with the Science Museum for a special series of Astronights

February 2020
A group of children sit on the floor at the museum listening to a talk by Sightsavers

Over 250 children took part in February’s Astronights to learn about Sightsavers’ work and sleepover in the iconic Science Museum galleries.

The first Astronights event of the year was held at the Science Museum in London, which took school-age children on a journey of discovery about surgeries, neglected tropical diseases and eye health through a series of talks, workshops and interactive activities.

The evening gave young visitors the chance to explore Sightsavers’ work in a fun and exciting way. To start, the group of seven-to-11-year-olds were told how surgery can improve our health and even save eyesight. To bring surgery to life, an adult volunteer was asked to perform “surgery” on a kiwi by using surgical equipment to remove the black seeds without damaging the rest of the fruit. The activity gave insight into the amount of concentration, precision and patience is needed to perform surgery and improve health.

They then learned about eye surgeon Samson Lokele, who works with Sightsavers. Thanks to funding from UK aid, Samson performs sight-saving surgery in rural Kenya, and has operated on more than 3,000 people, often in challenging circumstances.

They were also challenged to find Samson’s life-size image and display of the surgical instruments he uses to treat the blinding eye disease trachoma, which features in the Museum’s Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries on the first floor.

Another popular activity was the disease Elimination Game, a coconut shy-styled game where players tried their hand at physically ‘eliminating’ the causes of infectious diseases. Children also tested their own hand-eye coordination through a ‘stitch like a surgeon’ challenge, which highlighted how fiddly surgery can be.

With around 290 children attending alongside 110 adults (their parents, carers and teachers), this was a unique opportunity to bring Sightsavers’ work to life for a younger audience.

Additional Astronights will be taking place once a month until June, and places can be booked on the Science Museum’s website.

Samson Lokele poses next to his image in the Science Museum exhibition.

Sightsavers at the Science Museum

The new medicine galleries launched in November 2019 and will be on display for the next 30 years.

More on the exhibit

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