People living in the country of Antigua and Barbuda, affected by Hurricane Irma in 2017, have received eye exams and new glasses thanks to the efforts of OneSight and 30 Luxottica volunteers, in partnership with local Red Cross and Lion’s Club organisations.
In September 2017, Hurricane Irma hit the island of Barbuda, damaging the majority of the island’s infrastructure and leaving over half of the population homeless. Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne evacuated residents to the nearby island of Antigua, where they were forced to pick up what little they had left and rebuild their lives.
Seventy five per cent of over 1,000 patients seen during the four-day clinic run by Onesight needed glasses; and one of them was Director of the Red Cross for Barbuda, Peter Cuffy. In addition to his work with the Red Cross, Mr. Cuffy is a teacher and coach. The school where he taught on Barbuda was destroyed by the hurricane. Like most of his students and fellow Barbudans, Mr. Cuffy is currently living in Antigua, and has been teaching at a local school. He said, “without clear sight, it is very difficult to read and articulate things [to my students]. Glasses make things much easier for me and make the work that I do much better”.
Molwyn Joseph, Minister of Health and the Environment, said “eye care has always been a high-cost issue for the people of Antigua and Barbuda. Some people have had to forego getting their eyes checked and purchasing glasses simply because they don’t have the financial means. We could have students in the classrooms with undetected vision problems, which could slow down their rate of learning. Everyone has a right to vision. OneSight’s presence here is helping us in a big way in overcoming that problem.”
VICTORY IN SIGHT
Last November OneSight announced the launch of its ‘Victory is in Sight’ campaign to raise awareness about the powerful difference a simple pair of glasses can make. The organisation aims to provide 20 million people with access to glasses by 2020. Just last year, it provided free eye exams and glasses to over 30 communities across the US and around the globe.
“We are honoured to be a part of rebuilding the lives of those impacted by Hurricane Irma in Antigua and Barbuda,” says Mony Iyer, President and Executive Director at OneSight. “We know through our work in communities around the world that glasses do so much more than give clear sight – they give hope and possibility.”