When 79-year-old Odija arrived in Australia from the Democratic Republic of Congo, as a Kirundi speaker, she had never had her eyes tested and could not speak English. She is a full time carer for her daughter with a disability and her eyes were blurry and sore when she tried to either look at letters or see out of the sides of her eyes. When she was given the test glasses and, for the first time, could see the letters right back down the page of the reading chart – she didn’t want to give the reading chart back! A life-changing moment, in more ways than one.
Not only could her bi-focal lenses enable her to see clearly up close, at a distance and in her periphery, they enabled her to learn English and more readily integrate into her new home, Australia.
In 2019, every refugee arrival into Darwin went through the Brien Holden Foundation Eye Clinic conducted in partnership with the Melaleuca Refugee Centre. Helping people see a brighter future for their families is at the heart of Brien Holden Foundation’s work in Australia.
Refugee Week 2020 – Celebrating the Year of Welcome.