Eleven-year-old Arthur dreamed of becoming an engineer, but was struggling to see clearly.
When he tried to read the blackboard at school, no matter how hard he squinted, he still couldn’t see it properly. Eventually his grades began to suffer, and his chances of a brighter future were dwindling.
Arthur’s poor vision meant that he was missing out on playing football with his friends, which he enjoyed so much. One day, he had a bad fall, chipping his teeth – it was clear that his sight problems were affecting his mobility and independence.
In Liberia, where children can face many barriers to opportunities, the Sightsavers-supported SHIP project is crucial to the future of children like Arthur.
A big part of the SHIP project involves training teachers to identify and refer pupils with sight problems. This ensures children like Arthur are able to have their eyes checked, so their vision issues can be diagnosed. And, where possible, they can be given urgent treatment or prescription glasses so they are able to make the most of their invaluable time at school.
Arthur’s teacher, Mr Thompson, was trained as part of the SHIP project, which meant he was able to identify Arthur’s vision problems. “Arthur was writing things down wrong in his book,” Mr Thompson explained. “He was spelling the wrong words, which meant he was misunderstood in his writing a lot.”