PATTAYA SPORTS CLUB, JESTERS AND YWCA HELP CHILDREN TO SEE THE LIGHT

It is difficult to imagine the problems that children face when they are unable to read a noticeboard, signpost or see traffic clearly, that is approaching to enable them to cross the road safely – a problem that we have all experienced in Pattaya when trying to cross 2nd road- for that is the situation that many underprivileged children find themselves in. It is estimated that up to 33% of children in Thailand have visual problems such as short sightedness and, perhaps unknowingly to themselves or family, need urgent help in this area.

Of particular concern is the fact that poor eyesight effects a child’s learning ability and can lead to headaches and fatigue for they may be embarrassed to admit that they are unable to see what the teacher has written on the board. The child falls behind other students, does not want to go to school and eventually fail to return to complete their education. Many families cannot afford to have their children’s eyes tested and certainly cannot afford to buy prescription glasses so the problem does not go away but gets steadily worse.

In 1993, a Dr Panat set up the Eye Glass Bank and has since been pursued locally by Dave Anderson, a retired American pilot, to provide children with eye glasses – free of charge. In the last 2 years Pattaya Sports Club, Jesters and YWCA have accepted this responsibility and arrange for the children at 4 schools, each year, to have their eyes tested and suitable glasses are made where necessary again – free of charge. The teachers select the students that show signs of requiring an eye test and out of 400 children tested this year, 274 needed glasses, some urgently. The glasses vary in design and colour and are suitable for both boys and girls.

Receiving the glasses is eagerly anticipated by the children and the presentation is enjoyed by representatives of Pattaya Sports Club, Jesters and YWCA. So off we went in a convoy of cars to these remote schools set apart from the activities around Pattaya.

We all had a happy sense of achievement and were rewarded with broad grins when the children use their glasses for the first time and realise what they have been missing and how much easier life will be in future and more children will benefit next year.

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The children wait patiently

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Woody, Bernie and William

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Woody accepts a thank you letter

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The children now have their glasses.

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A thank you to William and Woody in English

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