Charles Hayward Foundation – Women’s Rehabilitation Project
Beatrice Jamoza Anyange, Community Health Volunteer – DOT Glasses Agent
Beatrice has been involved in the DOT Glasses project since its inception in 2021. She is 40-years old and lives with her husband and five children in Musanda, a rural village in Mumias West sub-county, Kakamega County. Beatrice is a CHV (Community Health Volunteer) who earns a small income of 5,000ksh (£31.68) per month.
She received training in December 2021 and January 2022 on eye-testing, prescriptions and DOT Glasses assembly. She says the training allowed her to understand and identify conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma, whilst also being able to differentiate short-sightedness and long-sightedness. She can give insight into care and treatment of the conditions whilst also test for and prescribe the correct lenses for glasses. She has used this training in her wider work as a CHV and become able to refer people suffering with cataracts to local medical facilities for further assessment and treatment.
During the initial months of the project, Beatrice found it difficult to make consistent sales due to persistent drought in the region – leading to a lack of income in the community. During this period, she sold 10 pairs of glasses in 3 months. Once the drought had subsided and the rains took hold, income started to slowly drip back into the wider community; in the next month Beatrice successfully sold 20 pairs of glasses.
Her sales since May have exceeded her monthly wage as a CHV.
Due to a period of poor communication, Beatrice did not have access to the glasses for around 6 months – but this did not stop her continuing to test people’s eyesight and refer them to medical facilities. Beatrice says that, aside from the income she gains from the project, the ability to help people in the community is her motivation for continuing in this period.
She has sold 33 DOT glasses in the past 5 months, making 23,100ksh (£128.34GBP) and also attended a preventative health campaign hosted by Nasio in July 2023 to increase her sales.
Eveline Namiwa, Bulanda Women’s Group Chair
Eveline Namwiva is the chair lady of Bulanda Women’s Group in Bulanda Village, Mumias West. She is 48-years old and is a widow with 4 children. Eveline only attended primary school and dropped out to get married at her family’s insistence.
She joined the women’s group in 2020, which currently has a membership of 39 women.
Of the 39 members, 20 women are part of the soap-making project.
The 39 members are former sex-workers who came together to support each other. The Nasio Trust first became involved with the group when 20% of the group members were found to be HIV positive and vulnerable. The organisation conducted health outreaches to improve their HIV therapy uptake. All the women were tested and those infected with HIV and AIDS were put on medication.
For Eveline, the Bulanda Women’s Group has made her socially and economically empowered. Despite being HIV positive herself, the women’s group has given Eveline a platform to learn from other women. They have also given her the confidence and optimistic attitude to live with her diagnosis. She also feels camaraderie with her fellow members and looks forward to their weekly meetings.
As sex workers, the women were reliant on the custom of boda boda riders (bike taxis) to earn an income. But through the training in soap-making, the 20 women have been able to participate in a profit-making venture that they can take complete ownership of. Eveline adds that table-banking sessions have empowered her further as she has borrowed 3,000ksh from it to set up another small business of selling fruits and vegetables, where she makes around 1,000ksh a week and has already paid off her loan. This has given Eveline the freedom to make her own financial decisions and to ultimately leave sex work.
Dorcas Mukolwe, DOT Glasses Customer
Dorcas is a DOT Glasses customer from the remote village of Iranda, where she lives with her husband and 5 children. She is 50 years old and a reverend at a small local church named Send Me Miracles. Dorcas had started to develop vision problems which were affecting her ability to read, she was also in pain from constantly straining her eyes in an attempt to see better. This then began negatively impacting her work as a reverend, as she could not read from the Bible while conducting services.
She had never needed or worn glasses previously and did not know how or where to access eyecare services due to the remoteness of her village. Dorcas asked to borrow a colleague’s glasses in a bid to help her vision. However, due to these being the wrong prescription they only hurt her eyes more.
It was then that she met Jorum, a Nasio DOT Glasses Agent, at a community gathering Jorum had organised to undertake widespread eye testing and marketing of the glasses. Jorum tested her eyes and prescribed her the correct lenses, piecing together the glasses immediately so Dorcas could leave with them the same day.
Since then, Dorcas has been able to enjoy reading again, pain and stress free. She can perform church services freely and no longer has to struggle to undertake simple tasks. Dorcas says that the glasses were the only affordable option for her and that she only wishes she’d known about them sooner. She has had the glasses for around 4 months and says the quality is good and they’ve shown little to no signs of wear and tear.
Thanks to the work of our DOT Glasses Agents, Dorcas can now live her life without the trouble of poor eyesight!