WATCH | Siya Kolisi visits mobile eye clinic as part of World Sight Day

14 October 2022 - 14:25
By Zukile Daniel

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi partnered with OneSight and Oakley on Wednesday to assist disadvantaged children with free eye tests and glasses. It was a three-day event held in Cape Town which celebrated World Sight Day on October 13.

Kolisi said he grew up in disadvantaged communities so he understood what it meant not to have access to health facilities.

“I needed to help. The idea behind the foundation is to take on a lot of the challenges I faced as a kid,” he said.

OneSight South Africa holds five of these events a year. With the assistance of the Springbok captain and his foundation, they were able to test children's eyesight and provide them with glasses if needed.

“A lot of these kids are very smart but they cannot see properly. Obviously the parents and teachers don’t know. Giving access to these kinds of things will make a difference in their lives,” he said.

Lameez Eksteen, country manager of OneSight South Africa, said they hosted 150 children for screening.

“We are screening a group of kids from NGOs in Cape Town and will make sure they get glasses. Eyesight is extremely important and a lot of productivity in school or at work is focused on eyesight,” Eksteen said.

“We provide glasses to anyone who struggles with eyesight because that simple change can alter someone's life. We have permanent vision centres in provinces but these are mobile clinics we hold in locations around the country.”

Optometrist Candice Montzinger told Kolisi one of the children, who is eight years old, was unable to see far objects. “She is very short-sighted and can’t see far. All of a sudden she could see and said, ‘Wow, letters!’”

Fabian Jood, campus pastor for Planet Shakers Cape Town, said this was a step in the right direction in an unequal country.

“Our country has vast unemployment and inequalities and Covid hasn't helped. The reality is every bit we do to empower young people, to empower our communities to thrive, is going to go a long way,” he said.

“There are some people within our midst, some young people, who can go on to become leaders and become significant influencers in our community.”

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