Community Engagement Projects 2013

These projects are conducted by third-year students under a supervision of three lecturers, Ms B Jan, Mrs L Coetzee and Mrs E Kempen. The following schools have been selected:

Hodisa Technical School

The project focuses on a specific room in which a choir practice takes place. This includes building of three benches (metal frame and wooden), tops varnished, to seat ten scholars each. A room will be painted and green board with music notation will be placed, as well as tuned piano.

Description: Community Engagement Keywords: Optometry, community engagement, Hodisa Technical School
These pictures were taken in February 2013 at the students' first visit.
They show the room that will be renovated and painted, as well as the trophies won by the choir displayed in the headmasters’ office.

Lekhulong Secondary School

A project includes a renovation of a counselling room. This includes painting of a room, carpeting and educate learners about drugs such as dagga and placing posters. Teachers will also be educated on how to correctly identify learners with visual and learning problems.

Description: Optometry Lekhulong Tags: community engagement, optometry, Lekhulong Secondary School
These pictures were taken at the student's first visit in February 2013.
They show the counselling room that will be renovated as well as some of themes that are emphasised in their life orientation syllabus.

Description: Optometry Lekhulong 2 Tags: community engagement, optometry, Lekhulong Secondary School
These pictures were taken in May 2013 during the service learning school activity week.

Vulamasango Secondary School

A project includes setting up a kitchen for home economics room. This includes getting pots, pans, cutlery, curtains, refuse bins, dish towels, and aprons. They will also put up posters.

Description: Community Engagement Keywords: community engagement, optometry, Vulamasango Secondary School, Home Economics
The above pictures were taken earlier in 2013 and show the stark Economic Life Sciences room, which has no crockery or equipment that the learners can use.

Kagisho Secondary School

Students have chosen to do a renovation of a library. A project includes shelving, varnishing, putting up new posters as well as painting.

Description: Community Engagement Keywords: community engagement, Optometry, Kagisho Secondary School, renovation, library
These pictures were taken earlier in 2013, this is the library that will be renovated to be more welcoming and efficient.

Description: Community Engagement Keywords: community engagement, service learning, optometry, Kagisho Secondary School, school activity week
These pictures were taken in May 2013 during the service learning school activity week.

In each school, students will dedicate a day where they will screen learners with vision problems identified by class teachers, and also do eye health promotion. Presentation by lecturers will be made to all Grade 9, 10 and 11 learners on Optometry career. Pamphlets will also be handed out during that time.

Community Engagement Projects 2012

“Eye-care for the Elderly” Project

This project is undertaken by the third-year Optometry service learning group. They were given the task of improving the general and ocular health of a community in Heidedal, Bloemfontein, the Ebeneazer Community-based and Support Services Group. The theme of the community project was “Eye-care for the Elderly”. We planned to go out and improve mainly the ocular health, but also the general health of the people, while educating them at the same time.

Phutanang Sechaba Luncheon Club

Description: Community Engagement Keywords: Optometry, community engagement, service learning, Phutanang Sechaba, luncheon club, Mangaung Resource Centre Trust
Students at the Phutanang Sechaba Luncheon Club

The small society of 32 elderly ladies allocated to us is known as the Phuthanang Sechaba Luncheon Club. This luncheon club belongs to the Mangaung Resource Centre Trust and is situated
in Dr Belcher Road in Heidedal. They rent this venue from the municipality and it is apart from their individual homes. Their group leader is Me DH Piliso.

They decided to start this club because they are all retired and they wanted to serve as a support group to each other. This was a good idea as it keeps them occupied with activities they enjoy. They also get a healthy meal every day they get together, which are Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. They have their own transport which picks them up at home in the mornings and takes them back in the afternoon.

The activities they do the most include needlework, knitting and preparing food. The end products of their craft work are then sold to the community for reasonable prices. They do some sort of physical activity, but we decided to assist them in improving their exercises. As they work on a tight budget they asked us to provide in some peripheral needs as well. This will be explained and elaborated on at a later stage. They are a very religious group of people. They are also very loyal towards their community and will do their absolute best to assist anyone in any way.

We were very privileged to have the opportunity to work with such a lovely group of elderly women. They don’t see themselves as “old” and are still very “young at heart”.

Our role as students:

Our primary focus as Optometry students would be to address the eye-care needs of the aged from disadvantaged communities. In this community-based learning initiative, students will be further required to address other peripheral needs (general health and social) of the elderly to contribute to the overall improvement in their quality of life.

We managed to achieve the following:

  • Spygmomanometer.
  • DVD player and educational DVDs.
  • Spectacles.
  • Educational posters, pamphlets and sessions.
  • Planted vegetables in pots and explanation on maintenance.
  • Fabric, linen and wool.
  • Exercise programmes.
  • Nutritional information (in pamphlet format).
  • Medical supplies (pill cases, first aid kit, Amsler grids, etc.).
  • Sponsorship for food (eggs).
  • Old magazines and sewing patterns.
  • Bibles donated by the Gideons.
  • Pamper Day.

Education on the maintenance of the above was given.


Took place on 22 August 2012 in Optometry Clinic at the National District Hospital. Supervisors were organised and frames (from Mr Uys) were dispensed. 21 spectacles were ordered.

  • One glaucoma suspect.
  • Spersallerg prescribed: 1
  • Tears Naturale prescribed: 1

On the day we thought it well to provide them with beverages in the clinic. We as students made some cupcakes and brought juice for them to enjoy while waiting for their eye test. On the same day the ladies received their Bibles from the Gideons (Oranje Laer).

The Ebeneazer Community Based and Support Services Group

The Ebeneazer Community Group was established five years ago, under the leadership of Mrs Doris de Wee, currently still leading the group. They are situated in Heidedal, but with no permanent gathering place. Mrs Doris de Wee stays at 254 Tom Swartz Street, Heidedal. She makes sure they have a regular meeting venue each week.
The group consists out of twenty-five elderly woman. The youngest member of the group is 56 years of age and the eldest member is 85 years of age. The majority of the group are Sesotho- and Afrikaans-speaking. None of the women are employed; they are pensioners and refer to themselves as housewives. Most of the women are grandmothers taking care of their grandchildren during the day.

How we met their needs:

Ocular needs:
Optometry students arranged a date on which all the members of the Ebeneazer group came to the National Optometry Clinic where patients' eyes were tested and spectacles prescribed as needed. The spectacles were then made and sponsored by DM Radue Optometrists. From the screening and tests the following was found and prescribed:

  • Eleven pairs of bifocal full-time wear spectacles.
  • Five referrals to Ophthalmology – three for Hypertension, one for Glaucoma suspect and one for an eyelid cyst.
  • Arranged with Bosch and Lomb for optical toolkits. These toolkits consists of lens cleaner and hand sanitizer, lens cloths and Amslers grids.
  • Posters were made to help educate them on basic ocular concepts such as cataracts, presbyopia etc.

General health needs:
Third-year Physiotherapy students created an age appropriate exercise plan for the group.

  • Demonstrated exercises to the group and made posters explaining and showing the exercises, which they can keep and use to do the exercises.
  • Made posters of general health conditions to help educate them about signs and symptoms and the influence such diseases have on people’s visual system.
  • Received a Sphygmomanometer and Glucose Kit sponsored for them to monitor their blood pressure and glucose levels and also educated them devices by means of a demonstration on the use of these equipment.
  • Arranged with a nearby community hall, the Clive Solomon Hall, to allow the ladies to do their exercises there every Wednesday morning from 09:00 to 11:00.

Daily living needs:
We repaired some old sewing machines for them. The cost of this was covered by a sponsor (Mrs I Conradie)

  • Supplies to enable them to do needlework or knitting toolkit.
  • Bibles – were sponsored by the Gideon’s.
  • A place to keep all their equipment and posters safe.
  • Arranged and got them a Wendy house that was moved to one of the yards of a member of the Ebeneazer group.
  • The use of both the blood glucose and blood pressure machines was demonstrated to the people.
  • Optical toolboxes were given to the people containing: Lens cleaner; A towel; Hand sanitizer; Spectacles with a spectacle rope; Spectacle case with lens cloth; Ocuvite tablets; Amsler’s grids; Ear buds; Elizabeth Anne’s baby shampoo; Refresh ampules; Bosch and Lomb brochures regarding contact lenses and age-related macular degeneration;
    Dietary booklet with recommendations for patients with high blood pressure and diabetes; Bibles that were in Sesotho and Afrikaans
  • Demonstrations regarding lid scrubs, usage of Ocuvite and refresh ampules, cleaning of spectacles and how to use the Amsler’s Grid were performed.
  • We then celebrated the final handover of everything to the Ebeneazer Group with refreshments for everyone.

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