Ocutech supports optometrist who created non-profit to serve visually impaired children in Namibia

Sarah LovejoyAlbinism, Low Vision Resources, Press Releases

Dr. Chantal Overvliet, of the Oculus Vision Centre in Windhoek, is the sole optometrist providing low vision care in all of Namibia. After learning of the urgent needs of the 132 children at the country’s only school for the visually impaired, she and her business partner and Low Vision assistant, Michelle Opperman, created a non-profit project to provide high-level low vision testing and products to the students. The school’s principal, Smithly Engelbrecht, said he was so grateful for the important work Dr. Overvliet is doing.

In the back row: Chantal Overvliet (Optometrist at Oculus Low Vision Centre), Mr. Smithly Engelbrecht (Principal), Ms. Beverly Coussement (Public Relations Officer at NAMDIA), Mrs. Mugunda (Teacher), Mr. Andreas (Teacher) and Michelle Opperman (Low Vision Support at Oculus Low Vision Centre) with the Prevocational and Grade 9 learners of the School.

Since close to 80% of these students are from less privileged households, their families could not afford the high-quality low vision aids that would allow the children to maximize their educational opportunities. The testing process, which was provided by Oculus at no cost, took close to a year to complete as it had to be scheduled between the daily functions of the practice. Once their vision needs were identified, Dr. Overvliet approached many organizations in search of funding to provide these special low vision aids to these deserving children.

After visiting the school and learning about its programs and seeing the amazing work done by the teachers and administration, the Renaissance Health Medical Aid Fund selected the project as their biggest Corporate Social Investments (CSI) to date. According to the fund, part of their sponsorship and CSI policy focuses on youth and health-related issues.  “We came to understand that children with visual impairments will find it hard to get through life without the necessary early life training and visual and mobility aids required. These services can make a real impact for these children and on society and this need fit exactly into our fund’s social investment mission,” said Kwendhi Amagulu, Renaissance’s senior marketing officer. Namdia, the Namibian diamond company, has also become a sponsor of the project.

Ocutech was pleased and honored to have its products selected for these children and offered special reduced pricing to enable the project to reach as many children as possible. They are especially well received by children due to their ease of use, wearing comfort and hi-tech appearance.  They are designed to be easy and convenient for low vision specialists to fit and prescribe and can be updated as children grow.

Overvliet’s and Opperman’s joint passion is to enhance vision for visually impaired children in Namibia. “Our goal is to help them maximize their academic and personal potential to allow them to become productive members in their communities,” they said.

Michelle Opperman (Low Vision Support) demonstrating how to use the VES Sport telescope to a Grade 9 learner.

To contact the Oculus Vision Centre visit www.oculusvisioncentre.com.

In back row: Chantal Overvliet (Optometrist at Oculus Low Vision Centre), Mr. Smithly Engelbrecht (Principal), Ms. Beverly Coussement (Public Relations Officer at NAMDIA), Mrs. Mugunda (Teacher) and Michelle Opperman (Low Vision Support at Oculus Low Vision Centre) with all the children that received the VES Sport telescopes and Sightscopes.

Link to Press Release: Downloadable PDF