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Egham student joins medical team onboard Orbis Flying Eye Hospital

Published Tuesday 1st of July 2014 09:57:55 AM

ACS Egham International School student, Gabriela Kopernicka, is one of four lucky students travelling to Pampanga, Philippines, this summer to observe the world famous Orbis Flying Eye Hospital in action.

The sight-saving charity internship is part of a journalism initiative sponsored by ACS International Schools Foundation and Orbis, a global eye care charity that improves access to eye treatment in developing countries.

There are over 39 million people in the world who are blind, with eighty per cent resulting from treatable or avoidable conditions, most live in developing countries where access to eye care is limited. Since 1982, Orbis' medical volunteers have donated their annual leave to work with local teams to provide eye care to disadvantaged communities and alleviate suffering whilst sharing their knowledge and expertise.

Gabriela will be joined on the trip by three other ACS International School students, Mia LaPine from ACS Hillingdon, and Paula Adamopoulos and Lovisa Terling from ACS Cobham. All four students will join the team of ophthalmologists aboard a DC-10 aircraft that has been specially converted into a mobile teaching hospital, complete with an operating facility and lecture theatre.

On-board students will observe live surgery procedures and interview volunteers, trainees, patients and their families, experiencing first-hand the difference Orbis makes to people's lives.

The students were awarded their places on the trip following a rigorous application process, involving a written application and an interview with a panel of six representatives from ACS International Schools, ACS International Schools Foundation and Orbis.

ACS Egham student and Orbis intern, Gabriela Kopernicka, commented:

'I took part in humanitarian work in Tanzania last year and hugely enjoyed the experience of working in a developing country. This inspired me to apply for the ORBIS scheme and hopefully repeat the same positive experience in the Philippines. Going to an international school has increased my appreciation of different cultures so I am also looking forward to enjoying other aspects of Filipino culture during the trip.'

Florence Branchu, Orbis Corporate Partnerships Manager commented:

'Orbis is delighted to be supported by the ACS International Schools again this year, bringing our partnership well into its second decade and over £300,000 worth of sight-saving support. What's great about this relationship is that ACS have not only substantially funded our work, but Orbis has also been able to showcase the impact of their fantastic support direct to their students.

'Through this annual internship we are able to educate the lucky students and their peers about the issue of preventable blindness in developing countries. By doing so, we hope to inspire the next generation of medics and Orbis ambassadors.'
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