|Benjamin Drummond / Sara Joy Steele|
News from Benj and Sara
Joel de Melo Bambamba and Suzete Guina are studying to become two of Mozambique’s first optometrists. After a series of civil wars left their country one of the poorest in the world, the population of almost 24 million is just beginning to recover. Yet, there are zero optometrists in Mozambique, and poverty and blindness are inextricable.
The Mozambique Eyecare Project aims to provide a sustainable solution to the problem of avoidable blindness through optometric education. There are 56 students enrolled in the project, thanks to a partnership between the Dublin Institute of Technology, Lúrio Univeristy in Mozambique and the International Centre for Eyecare Education.
This past spring, we spent two weeks in Mozambique to tell the story of Joel and Suzete and the project’s work at UniLúrio. We built an image library, a 10-minute video and a new website, mozeyecare.org, all launched for World Site Day. Our frequent collaborator Darin Reid did the design and built the multi-language site on WordPress. And a big thanks to the amazingly agile Nick Drummond who wrote and recorded most of the music in the piece.
Mozambique is one of five Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa, and as such, is somewhat disadvantaged when it comes to foreign aid. In fact, the optometry faculty at Uniúrio are all Spanish speakers because it has been difficult to find Portuguese or Brazilian staff. The similarities between Portuguese and Spanish also made our job significantly easier as Sara was able to communicate with almost everyone in Spanish.
A few behind-the-scenes photographs are below. Explore the “Stories” on mozeyecare.org to view more images from the project.