Thursday, Apr 15

Easing the burden of learning with clear vision

November 09, 2019 | Judy Lao

Grade-9 student Daniella Gadudo choose the eyeglasses she likes. She will be able to get her eyeglasse within a month, the eyeglasses is vital for her continued education. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

Story Highlights

  • The Tzu Chi Eye Clinic continues to make learning easier for students of the Sisters of Mary Schools with a fresh batch of eyeglasses. On November 7, the first batch of 91 Girlstown students received their new glasses.


Gracella Alancadu’s eyesight began degrading when she was in Grade 3. She recalls that when she was in Grade 6, the teacher asked her class to read something on the blackboard. Seated at the far back, she had trouble reading what’s written even with squinted eyes. The teacher, however, mistakenly assumed that she didn’t know how to read.

Receiving her brand new eyeglasses from the Tzu Chi Eye Clinic means a lot to her, as well as her schoolmates. She received two pairs, each with a different grade to compensate for the fast-changing acuity, which her family couldn’t afford as both parents are without a job.

“I’m happy that I can finally be able to see better, study better and get higher grades with the glasses. When we’re not able to see the letters on the board, we’re not able to understand the lessons at all,” said Alancadu, now Grade 8.

Her eyesight problem is shared by many other students of the Sisters of Mary Girlstown in Silang, Cavite. Students come from impoverished families, and as such the Catholic school provides their education free of charge. Eyeglasses, let alone an eye doctor, are way beyond their families’ means, as Sis. Armeda Napoles, SM explains.

“We have a lot of students with eye problems, so we’ve been asking help from others including Tzu Chi to cater to these children,” said Napoles, who works at the school’s infirmary.

The Tzu Chi Eye Clinic in Sta. Mesa, Manila constantly provides both Sisters of Mary’s Girlstown and Boystown students with eyeglasses. On November 7, eyeglasses were distributed to the first batch of 91 Girlstown students.

Grade-9 student Daniella Gadudo can let out a sigh of relief upon getting her pair. Not only does she not have to squint, she also won’t have to ask teachers’ permission to get close to the board every time she cannot read what is on the board.

“Sometimes, I was ashamed to ask my teacher, especially if he or she is strict and intimidating. In that case, I would rely on my classmates’ notes,” recalls Gadudo, whose old eyeglasses can no longer adjust her vision properly.

The eyeglasses also save Grade-7 student Ma. Annamie Bronia the trouble of embarrassment.

“It feels embarrassing because sometimes people would laugh at you [for not being able to see],” said Bronia.

A second batch of students will be receiving their eyeglasses at a later date. With these glasses, their days of learning will be a lot easier for them.

  • Gracella Alancadu, a Grade-7 student, undergoes a visual acuity test. Her eyesight has been degrading since she was in Grade 3. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • Some students undergo the same test, except at much closer ranges due to their vision. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • A Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) doctor asks a student to read while using different lenses. 【Photo by Jonas Trinidad】

  • The students received their brand new eyeglasses on November 7, during Tzu Chi Philippines' 25th founding anniversary. 【Photo by Paul Dizon】

  • Tzu Chi volunteers fit every student with their brand new glasses. 【Photo by Paul Dizon】

  • With their new eyeglasses, these girls will be able to study better. Many of them come from poor families, and proper eye care is a luxury to them. 【Photo by Paul Dizon】