Eye care for needy children

By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]

Disadvantaged children with poor eyesight in Tavira are being given the chance to see without impairment thanks to a charitable initiative run by Portuguese television channel SIC.

Two charitable institutions in Tavira that provide residential and day-care services for underprivileged children were chosen to receive the help of the solidarity project SIC Esperança, which is working in conjunction with optical company Instituto Óptico.

The project provided eye tests for the children as well as prescription glasses for those with eyesight problems.

The two associations, Uma Porta Amiga (A Friendly Door) and Cafap (Centro de Apoio Familiar e Aconselhamento Parental, a centre for family support and parenting advice), help around 100 children and adolescents from poor families living in the Algarve and have praised this initiative for providing an essential service to the children they care for.

Ana Fernandes, Cafap director, told the Algarve Resident: “The project began after a study carried out by specialists concluded that learning disabilities are commonly related to eye problems.

“During the tests performed on 53 children, it was observed that some needed to use glasses,” she added.

Meanwhile, in an appeal to the community, Ana Fernandes pointed out that the associations have other financial difficulties that also need urgent attention.

“As well as the prescription glasses, we currently struggle to buy clothes, food and school supplies for the children. 

“The government has also changed its policy to help children obtain school books. It used to supply them free of charge but for the next school year parents have to incur the costs initially, later being reimbursed the money.

“How can a family on a minimum wage (€477), some with two or three children, buy school books? They will have to choose between feeding the family and sending the children to school,” said Ana Fernandes. “We ask anyone who might be able to help to please contact us. It’s important that the children we support begin the next school year with all the appropriate material.”

The two charities provide care for children from as young as new born babies up to 18 year olds. Their daily support to families in need also includes social and psychological care. Children are helped with developing their personal and social skills, with a view to prepareing them for the future.

For more information, please call 281 325 946 or email [email protected].