I was sitting in the corner of a small trailer outside of a hospital in Kabul watching these young school boys come in for their eye exams one by one. One doctor was telling about how these boys had been selected because they stated they had trouble with their vision, while the other doctor listened intently to the description of the little boys problems. I love how both of the subjects in this photo are using a similar hand gesture (same hand even) while they are talking.
I learned a lot of interesting facts about Afghanistan and eye care while I was there. This particular organization did some amazing work in 2008! Here is a quote from the article that I wrote for the September 2009 issue of TEAMHorizons magazine:
Today, the flagship eye care program called National Organization for Ophthalmic Rehabilitation (NOOR) provides more than 70% of the eye care for the country and people of Afghanistan. The reach of these services stretch from Mazar-e-Sharif in the north to Kandahar in the south; from Herat in the west to Jalalabad in the east, and multiple sites in Kabul and the surrounding area.
With six expatriate staff, and over 100 national workers, the NOOR program was responsible for seeing over 300,000 patients in 2008. They also provided more than 25,000 pairs of eyeglasses, 15,000 sight saving surgeries, around 400,000 bottles of eye drops, and most of the training for the countries residency program, ophthalmic technicians training and the training of community health workers.
Noor means “light” in Persian, and this program is definitely providing light to those who live in the darkness of preventable blindness.
You can download the full story (and see more photographs) here!