In Mozambique, 41% of the population suffers from serious eye conditions, a percentage higher than that of the neighboring countries. The number of people over fifty who suffer from preventable blindness is ten times higher in Mozambique than it is in Spain. Additionally, difficulty in accessing eye healthcare for women is way above average: 76% of people with unoperated cataract are women.
Eyes of the world is fighting against this situation since 2002, focusing on the region of Inhambane, where the evaluation of preventable blindness done by our Foundation in 2016 revealed refractive errors to be one of the main causes for this type of eye conditions.
Aiming to bring together our fight against preventable blindness and for the empowering of women, Eyes of the world launched, in November 2016, an innovative, efficient, equal and auto-sustainable project, integrated into the Mozambican health system: Vilankulo’s Optical Shop, which is the first eye health workshop to be managed only by women.
Several women from the local association AMODEVI were trained by Eyes of the world in areas related to optical workshop management, such as supervision, eye health, technical and practical skills… Therefore, those women were able to run a new optical workshop. This optical shop brings eye healthcare to the rural community, especially to women and girls. Glasses are provided at an affordable price, even for free in cases of extreme poverty.
After only one year’s work by this workshop run by local women, 454 people (including 140 students of the regional elementary school) regained their sight, thus making it possible for them to study and to work for a better future.
Given the positive outcome of the initiative, both in terms of eye health and of gender equality, and while the second year’s results are still unavailable, Eyes of the world is expecting to open another sustainable workshop in that region, again in collaboration with a local women’s association.