Training women to run rural vision centres can help women in two ways. Firstly, we empower women by creating jobs and training women for these jobs. Secondly, bringing female-run vision centres to the doorsteps of female patients and having female volunteers and female vision technicians encourage local women to receive eye care services.
Women in rural Bangladesh are traditionally expected to stay at home. Many of them aspire to further their studies but financial constraints and cultural norms stop them from doing so. Many women face barriers in receiving eye care services. Such barriers include lack of family support, needing a male relative to accompany them on the journey to the hospital, women having a lower status and less awareness of eye care and financial inability.
This projects provide training for jobs so that women can learn skills and be independent while providing income for their families. This project takes a gender-sensitive approach by training females to run vision centres and spread prevention and eye care messages. By bringing eye services to their doorsteps and employing female vision centre technicians and volunteers, female patients are more likely to have their eyes checked.
The vision centre model helps to establish trust and informal information networks to reduce barriers to eye care services. This project empowers women through job creation and training. it increases their financial independence and reminds them that they are capable of so much more. When female patients visit women-run vision centres, they will also be encouraged to be financially independent and take small steps to improve their status. With their eyes treated, they can get a job.