Written by: Ellen Libby, Director of Marketing Physicians for Peace
From the field: Naga, Philippines
Today we traveled to the small city of Naga, where the fourth Resource Center for the Blind facility was holding a special program for the day. This center was built three years ago after Dr. Penny Bundoc connected three organizations, including Physicians for Peace, to fulfill a need for the visually impaired people of the local area.
The day was dedicated to the visually impaired children of Naga, with eye-refraction screenings and presentation sof recent donations of optical frames by Physicians for Peace, along with toys from the Philippines Airline Foundation. Together with the Physicians for Peace optometrists, local special education teachers organized the eye examination area.
The Naga center offers three computer stations with software to allow visually impaired people to use computers. Felix, the center manager who is also blind, demonstrated the use of this technology. He was able to do everything, from turning on the computer, to finding Microsoft Word and typing a document. It was quite an amazing task to complete without sight.
The local teachers use this center as a resource for their students and also for education training for themselves. During the summer, teachers can take a certification course in the Manila center to better improve their capabilities on the latest visual aid technologies and teaching techniques.
While there, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Jeanne Tang of the Jose Foundation (one of the benefactors and a partner in the program).
Jeanne only has 20 percent of her vision, and she’s losing more as she ages. As a child, she was nearsighted and had to sit close to the board. With night blindness she could not play with other children in the evenings. As she grew up and had her own family, she adjusted, because she had access to technology and resources to adjust her life. This program is close to her heart. She wants to give these children the same opportunities she had.
All in all, it was a near perfect mission. Look for more post-mission follow up soon!