Philipmena’s Friends Don’t Tease Her Anymore
Philipmena, a high school student in Monrovia, Liberia, had been experiencing vision problems since the fifth grade and could not read the blackboard during class unless she sat in the front row. But her classroom was overcrowded, so if she didn’t arrive early enough, the only available desks were those in the back of the room.
When Philipmena was unable to secure a seat up front, she spent the lecture walking up to the chalkboard, taking notes, and returning to her seat. Friends and classmates teased: If she couldn’t see, why didn’t she just get glasses?
Philipmena before GoodVisionGlasses
Unfortunately, that solution wasn’t as simple as it sounded. Philipmena is the youngest of nine children. Her father had passed way and her mother sold food at a local market to ensure that her children were taken care of and received an education. When she could not pay Philipmena’s school fees, she convinced the school principal to let her pay in installments. Unfortunately, she could not also afford to purchase eyeglasses.
When Philipmena was in the ninth grade, her school received an eye outreach visit from Refuge Place International, GoodVision USA’s partner organization in Liberia. Philipmena was sitting in the back of the classroom because she had arrived too late to get a seat up front. The Refuge team asked her to read the eye chart from her desk — she couldn’t make out a single letter. They moved her closer to the chart — still nothing. She was finally able to read the chart when seated at the very front of the room.
It was clear that Philipmena needed glasses, but the Refuge outreach team wasn’t carrying the high-powered lenses that she required. So they brought her to the Refuge ophthalmic nurse, who confirmed her prescription and fitted her for glasses. Under the GV USA-RPI program, glasses are free for students, so Philipmena went home that day wearing a new pair of glasses for the first time in her life.
Today, Philipmena is in tenth grade and has been wearing GoodVisionGlasses for over a year. She plans to attend university and dreams of becoming a medical doctor. She can see the board from any seat in the classroom, her grades have improved, and her classmates have stopped making fun of her — all thanks to a pair of GoodVisionGlasses.