Charity Awards 2024

Vision for a nation foundation

Delivering primary eye care to the whole of Rwanda

Vision for a Nation is a high-impact charity that supports health ministries in emerging countries to deliver nationwide access to local and affordable eye car.

Visual impairment is a hugely neglected global health issue, with some 285 million people living today with visual impairments and over 2 billion who live with poor vision but have no access to local eye care.
In 2009 the Rwandan Ministry of Health estimated that some 1.2 million of Rwanda’s 12 million citizens were in need of glasses and that some 300,000 of its citizens were clinically blind. Yet the country had just one ophthalmologist per million people.

In 2012, Vision for a Nation (VFAN) successfully supported the Rwandan health ministry in an initiative to provide all of the country’s citizens with access to local and affordable eye care. Through the organisation’s efforts, it has been able to achieve something that no other low-income country in the world has managed.
VFAN helped train 1,600 eye care nurses in the country; the equivalent of two specialist nurses in each of the country’s 502 local-level health centres. VFAN-trained nurses have provided over 426,000 screenings; distributed eye drops to 230,000 people with allergies and infections; corrective glasses to more than 61,000 and referred over 70,000 people for specialist treatment at local hospitals.

These services have already had a direct and positive impact on the country’s productivity with many people being able to return to work or remain in work longer, and thousands of children being able to continue their education.

The programme can become self-funding as each pair of glasses are purchased for 46c and sold to their wearer for $1.50 – a price deemed affordable by the Rwandan government.

The Rwandan government is now keen that the country becomes a global centre of excellence for eye care.
Charity Awards judge Su Sayer, chair of CPRE, said: “This is a win for the charity, a win for the Rwandan government, a win for everybody – a real no-brainer.” Judge Prem Goyal added: “This is a really well planned and executed project, and the results are excellent.”

CC reg no: 1140123