35 students get gift of vision from Eyes Right Project

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Kiran Singh, president of the Greater San Fernando Area Chamber of Commerce, presents a pair of glasses to Devon Foster, a student of the Pleasantville Government Primary School as part of the Rapidfire Kidz Foundation’s Eyes Right Project, at Naparima College, San Fernando on June 8. – Photo by Lincoln Holder

MANY people take seeing clearly for granted, and for children worldwide, the lack of basic vision impedes their education.

“It hampers their social development. It diminishes their quality of life and confidence,” said head of the police service’s Victim Support Unit Supt Claire Guy-Alleyne.

She was delivering the feature address at a handover ceremony, during which 35 students from Pleasantville Government Primary School were each presented with a brand-new free pair of glasses from Rapidfire Kidz Foundation, as part of its Eyes Right Project.

It was held at the Naparima College auditorium in San Fernando on May 8.

Rapidfire hosted the event in collaboration with Republic Bank Ltd and See-Vu Optical Ltd.

Guy-Alleyne said it was a profound honour to be there for the heart-warming event.

“Remember, vision is not just about sight. It is about insight, foresight and the vision to dream. Dream big. Let today remind us that when we come together to support each other, there is no limit to what we can achieve,” she told the gathering.

She said in a world where so many resources are spent on complex solutions to complex problems, it was inspiring to witness how a simple yet profoundly impactful gesture like providing glasses can transform lives.

Guy-Alleyne praised the NGO’s founder, attorney Kevin Ratiram, and members for recognising this and taking steps to address it by giving them the glasses.

“They are not just improving eyesight. They are opening the world to our children,” she added.

She said the recipients can participate confidentially in activities and dreams without limit.

She referred to the glasses as tools to help students unlock their true and brightest potential.

“As you put on your new glasses, know that you are seen, heard, valued and supported. You have a voice. Speak and be heard. We believe in your dreams. These glasses are your window to a world where you can learn, see, and do more,” Guy-Alleyne said.

“You will be successful in all of your endeavours. You, my children, were born to be anything you want to be. You deserve to live and be nurtured in an environment that is free from all forms of abuse, neglect and abandonment. You are heroes. See yourself as such.”

She cited the African proverb, It takes a village to raise a child.

Guy-Alleyne added, “This is evident today with the gesture displayed.”

She encouraged the parents and guardians to have an attitude of gratitude, saying it brings a feeling of happiness.

She also thanked the volunteers and donors for their generosity, adding that they had planted seeds of hope and opportunity that would grow and flourish in ways they never imagined.

In his remarks, Ratiram said under the Eyes Right Project, the latest distribution meant that a total of 1,204 children had benefited nationwide since its inception.

Ratiram thanked the sponsors and praised the parents for being part of the event.

He said, “Whenever you hear about gangs, school violence, school dropouts, almost simultaneously, you hear people talk about bad parenting.”

“But how many times do we highlight or compliment good parents?” Ratiram asked.

“How many times do we highlight and compliment the single parents who raise their entire family, sometimes with the smallest means? How many times do we complement the fathers who are there for their children?”

He praised the fathers who accompanied their children and other parents for taking an active part in their children’s schooling, such as visiting and talking to the teachers and principals at schools.

Ratiram said: “Today, this function is not just about your children coming to get glasses. There is a greater significance because if a child cannot see well, can that child learn properly?”

“If that child cannot learn properly, can that child succeed at exams? Can that child learn a trade or skill? It is about giving a child an opportunity in life.”

Guests included Kiran Singh, president of the Greater San Fernando Area Chamber of Commerce; Hamant Lalla, the general manager of internal audit at Republic Bank; and Prem Sookdeo and other representatives from See-Vu Optical Ltd.