FREE EYEGLASSES IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
What do you do if you have no money and your child can’t see the blackboard to read the classwork or the homework? Many poor Dominicans and Haitians at the school we support near FRIUSA in the Dominican Republic had this very problem. We built classrooms, bought uniforms, desks and school supplies, paid for food and for teacher’s salaries. This trip we came to find out the eyesight of the children and their parents. Due to a donation of free glasses from L.B.K. Optical Laboratory in Yorba City, California, we set up an eye camp in June. Three optomotrists were paid to come from Santo Domingo to the school to examine the children and their parents, about 150 in one day.
The Laboratory gave us over 600 pairs of new frames for the patients to choose from. Any children having trouble reading close up or far away were given priority. Many were Haitian and we had four volunteers translate from Creole to Spanish so the optometrists could communicate with them. We had some children and adults who couldn’t even see the chart’s largest letters at all. One was the principle’s son, 12 years old. He tested out at 20-700 and he had never been to an eye doctor. Coincidentally, he was doing very poorly in school-he couldn’t see anything written on the board! We had a six year old girl starting school in August who needed glasses and many parents who needed bifocals. How can you get a descent job when you can’t see? We went back 13 August to bring the completed pairs of glasses to the children before school started on 27 August. We will repeat this program both here in the US and abroad.