A world that is greatly out of balance, including in matters of health, is neither stable nor secure. As one of the most neglected health crises in the world, the global vision crisis most critically affects the low and middle income countries. Committed to helping restore vision, and thus transform lives for the underprivileged, we dispensed reading glasses to the “people deprived of liberty” (PDL) at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm, formerly the Davao Penal Colony, on January 20, 2023. This annual outreach program of Minority Care International (MCI) was the eleventh distribution of glasses to improve recipients’ vision and to give free eye check-ups to economically struggling communities. This year MCI saw the need for eye health for the PDL in Davao Prison and Penal Farm.In the past, MCI has distributed more than 4000 eyeglasses and has given eye checkups to more than 5000 individuals, often addressing presbyopia in various, mostly economically disadvantage, communities in Davao City. Delivering eye care to the incarcerated, while not for everyone, is certainly a great opportunity. Practicing optometry and delivering eye-care in prison has revealed a side of healthcare that most are not fully aware of, the joy of giving to the most marginalized. With great joy and happiness among the inmates and prison staff at DaPeCol, they received the services offered by MCI in collaboration with the ophthalmology students from Davao Doctors College together with their professors and Dr. Ariel Barrientos, Dean of the School of Ophthalmology at the Davao Doctors College; Dr. Jovina Sandra; and Attorney Susan Cariaga. On January 20, 2023, the volunteers traveled to DaPeCol to give free eye tests and blood pressure screening, to dispense 400 free new eyeglasses, and to provide snacks to people who attended.
One of the PDL explained his appreciation, “I was working inside the prison but had vision problem for a very long time, but I did not know what to do or where to go until I heard from the DaPeCol staff that eye care help was coming to the prison in a very special way. I received my glasses with an eye checkup. Now I can see and read. Thank you for your help.”
MCI is grateful for those who helped provide these life-changing vision services
and extends its thanks to CSupt. Rufino A. Martin, Acting Regional Superintendent of Davao Prison and Penal Farm for his support in addressing the well being of PDL, and the Education Division’s Ms.Obenza, Attorney Susan Cariaga, MCI scholars, Davao Doctors College ophthalmology students—Juvilyn Araneta, Vince Joshua Burdeos, Ken Roger Cruspero, Ronalyn Demabildo, Keyzza Masong, Miles Pitogo, Chris Tomas Ravelo, Angel Love Sumbe, as well as Minority Care International’s students— social work students Mary Rose Dalaguit and Theresa Adil, and Med Tech students Giana Rose Montalban,Jacob and Cyrill Bayanon for their amazing job. The day-long event brought happiness to PDL recipients of the eye checkups and eyeglasses because they can see and read well, even some saying they can now read their cases in court as well. The ongoing eye care clinic is a community service project for MCI students to practice compassionate servanthood, one that draws all groups of people to receive eye exams and cost-free eyeglasses. This was a rewarding project for MCI students who enjoyed serving to fulfill this important community need. Thank you MCI.