Over R5,3-million has been spent as part of the project and students are also educated on health and road safety.
The Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire (Pty) Limited (Bakwena) “Vision for the Future” project handed over 11 pairs of spectacles to Moedwil Primary and 48 pairs to Moedwil High School on 30 October.
This project was launched in 2011 and to date has resulted in 54 824 learners along the N1N4 route having had their eyes screened, with 1080 of these learners receiving the necessary prescription spectacles to improve their eyesight.
This annual project involves eye testing for all learners along the Platinum Corridor and is carried out by community volunteers who have been equipped and trained through the assistance of Bakwena.
Bakwena holds a 30-year Concession Contract with the South African National Roads Agency (SOC) Limited (SANRAL) to design, build, finance, operate and maintain 385km of road.
Improving their vision
As part of the initiative, eye tests at reduced fees are conducted by local optometrists on learners who have been pre-identified through the volunteers.
Hoya SA is a valuable partner in this initiative as they provide the spectacles for the children to Bakwena for a significantly reduced cost.
The objectives of the project is to provide free eye screening for all learners in schools along the N1N4 Corridor at least once, to get those who failed the eye screening tested to an optometrist and to provide spectacles to those who need them.
To date, over R5,3-million has been spent as part of the Vision for the Future Project, while also educating students on health and road safety.
Poor vision dramatically increases the risk of crashes, with SANRAL claiming that nearly half of the deaths that occur on South African roads are pedestrians.
In remote areas, this percentage may rise considerably closer to the average percentage experienced in other developing countries.
The eye screening project is carried out in conjunction with hearing screening which was launched in 2016.
Since September 2016 the eye screening has been done through the Peek Acuity cell phone application supported by the HearX company in South Africa.
In 2015 Bakwena merged the project with their Integrated School Health Strategy.
This initiative has produced many positive results, including impressing on learners the importance of observation when using a road.
Bakwena’s public relations manager, Charmaine van Wyk, said: “Our various programmes have had a meaningful impact on many aspects of the lives of people in the communities around the routes that we operate. We are committed to their road safety and well-being, but we also focus on other initiatives that will bring positive change in their day-to-day lives that will deliver long-term benefits.
“From informative programmes to educating children on road safety to programmes raising awareness for environmental heritage, we believe that we have the responsibility as a business not only to build, maintain and operate effective highways, but also to improve the lives of the people along these routes”.