If you struggle to see, you struggle to learn. It is as simple as that.

By: Daveena Brain, Executive Director, Our Children's Vision

It’s simple; education is critical to improve the future of girls throughout the world – but if a girl struggles to see the blackboard properly, or struggles to see the print in her text books, then she will struggle to get an education.

It is a fact that without an education, she is at risk of struggling for her entire life.  Improving a girl’s vision can be simple, just an eye exam and a pair of glasses might be all it takes, but the rewards can be enormous.

Today as part of international women’s day, Julia Gillard threw the spotlight on the critical role that education plays in improving the health and well-being of girls around the world.

If we invest in girls' schooling, health benefits will follow. A better-educated girl is less likely to get HIV and more likely to be able to make her own choices about when she marries and how many children she'll have. And it not only makes a difference for her, it makes a difference for generations to come. Her children are more likely to survive infanthood, more likely to be vaccinated and more likely to go to school themselves.  

Huge strides have been made, and are being made, to get more girls into school. But that is only the first step.
 
Millions of children continue to face numerous challenges, like going to school hungry, lack of books, pens and paper, and grossly overcrowded classrooms – and believe me when I say there are many more barriers to receiving an education.

One key barrier that is often overlooked is poor vision.  It has been estimated that as much as 80% of what a child learns in their first 12 years is processed through their eyes.  Research shows that in countries like Taiwan, 20% of seven year old girls need glasses, rising to 61% at age 12, and 81% at 15 years of age.  Rates for China and Singapore are similar.  

But what happens if these girls cannot access the eye care they need to improve their vision?   

Literally millions of girls around the world have their opportunity to learn, to grow and to have a brighter future, put at risk simply because they need a pair of glasses. We need to do more.

Our Children’s Vision is working to increase awareness of the need for our children to have healthy eyes and good vision. Together with our partners we aim to reach 50 million children around the world by 2020.  We want to ensure that all children get access to the eye exams, glasses and other treatments they need.  

We can’t solve all the problems children face in getting a good education but we can at least remove one.  

To read the full post by Julia Gillard go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/australian-prime-minister-julia-gillard/better-education-will-mea_b_9399960.html

 

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