Denver, CO (August, 2012): Optometry Giving Sight’s US National Committee has identified close to $250,000 in projects that will be supported by funds raised throughout 2012.

They include 2 projects to benefit underserved communities within the USA; and 4 new projects in El Salvador and Haiti. These are in addition to ongoing support for VOSH International projects in Latin America and projects in Africa and Asia.

The 2 domestic projects include a partnership with the Special Olympics Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes program to provide a comprehensive vision screening service to athletes with intellectual disabilities in the USA; along with disability vision care training for the volunteer ECPs working in the program.

Funds have also been allocated for the Illumination Foundation’s Mobile Eye Care Clinic project in Orange County to purchase equipment to support large- and small-scale eye care clinics providing treatment and follow up care for uninsured, homeless, and impoverished individuals.

The regional projects include a Child Eye Screening Project in El Salvador being delivered by local NGO Fudem, which will screen and provide glasses to 64,000 children from extremely poor communities and train 1,400 teachers, parents, health promoters and community leaders in basic visual health care and awareness. A separate project will seek to build the capacity and infrastructure of an Optical Shop model being developed by VisionSpring to deliver services to remote communities in El Salvador.

Funds have also been allocated to provide equipment for an Optical Lab in Cap Haitien, Haiti in conjunction with US NGO, Vision for the Poor; and a Vision Entrepreneurs pilot project through VOSH Pennsylvania to deliver prescription eye wear and sunglasses to poor people in remote parts of Haiti.

“We are truly delighted to be able to identify such a broad range of worthy projects in the United States and our region and it is only possible because of the current and ongoing support that we receive from our colleagues in the profession and industry,” said Dr. Mary Anne Murphy, National Committee Chairperson. “I encourage everyone to support our fundraising activities throughout the year so that we can deliver on our commitments to help millions of people who are blind or vision impaired simply because they can’t access an eye exam and glasses from a locally trained optometrist or other eye care professional”.

Dr. Murphy noted that the above disbursements were in addition to allocations made at the global level to support projects in Africa and Asia. She said that Optometry Giving Sight currently funds 42 eye and vision care projects in 24 countries. More information is available at www.givingsight.org

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