Prior's Field September 2018

ACS Hillingdon students travel to India on sight-saving charity assignment

Published Monday 18th of July 2016 12:58:30 PM

ACS Hillingdon International School students, Hana Dowidar, aged 16, and Roberta Muller, aged 18, have recently returned from a once-in-a-lifetime experience, visiting India on a unique journalism internship. The project, now entering its sixteenth year, is sponsored by ACS International Schools Foundation and Orbis, a global sight-saving charity working to improve access to eye services by training local eye care teams in developing countries. Hana and Roberta were joined on the trip by three other ACS students; Ruthie Glauber, aged 15, from ACS Cobham; Lillian Davies, aged 17, from ACS Egham; and Joshua Jacob, aged 16, from ACS Doha. The five students visited a range of eye care services, from the H V Desai Hospital in Pune, to a school eye care screening in the hills of Panchgani. They also visited a school for blind students and watched as 150 people had their bandages removed following cataract surgery - patients from just one morning’s surgery list. India has one of the highest blindness rates in the world; eight million people are entirely blind, of which 320,000 are children. Hana Dowidar was impressed by the work ethic and passion of hospital staff, commenting: “This week has been one of the greatest of my life. From the moment we first walked into H V Desai Eye Hospital, I was blown away by everyone and everything I saw, simply because every person working there was working with a gleam of utter determination and passion in their eyes. “Overall, coming to India and seeing such inspiring work being done has made a great impact on me as an individual”. During the internship, students posted regular blogs, photos and social media updates and this year, for the first time, Orbis UK has also tasked the students to produce a short narrative film to educate young people. Roberta Muller was so inspired by the trip that she wishes to become a paediatric nurse, commenting: “This experience has been so amazing and I am truly grateful that I was able to come and see all the marvelous work that the doctors and nurses are doing in Pune and all across India. “This has made me want to work even harder to try and get into nursing school in the future, so that one day I am able to help sick people in need.” The students were awarded their places on the trip following a rigorous application process. This involved a written submission and an interview with a panel of six representatives from ACS International Schools, ACS International Schools Foundation and Orbis UK . Kathryn Sweet, Head of Corporate Partnerships at Orbis UK commented: “ACS International Schools has partnered with Orbis UK for the 16th year to provide its students with a fantastic opportunity to see the world differently. Five outstanding candidates were selected for their ability to connect with our work and capture engaging stories, photos and videos which will educate others on their experience. They did a fantastic job and threw themselves into the task at hand. Orbis is extremely grateful for this partnership with ACS, as its support is even greater than its generous financial donation, which now exceeds £400,000, as its students continue to enthuse countless others to join the fight against avoidable blindness.” During their time in Pune, the students wrote extensively about their experiences. To find out more about what they saw and to read their blogs, click on the following link: www.orbis.org/news/uk/blog
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