Djimba World Music Festival 2018 is set to come off in Funsi in the Upper West Region on the 30th December and will bring relief to dozens of children who suffer from eye problems which hinder their education.

Wiyaala has been working with Dr Zakarea Al-hassan Balure of Bliss Eye Care to promote a free eye clinic at the festival where the children of Funsi and nearby villages who are suffering from treatable visual impairment can be helped.

The Blissful Sight for Kids (BS4Ks) project offers free eye services to both basic and second cycle students across the 11 districts of the Upper West Region. Through the project’s free eye screening and correctional services visually impaired children can be aided or corrected with a spectacle lens by Bliss Eye Care.

The annual Djimba World Music Festival, which is being run in conjunction with the South Sissala Games, was created in 2016 by Wiyaala as a long term project to promote a cultural festival in the Upper West Region which it is hoped will bring more visitors to the region as well as give local artists opportunities to perform. “It’s a fact that northern artists often feel marginalised by the industry in Accra. So we’re doing something about it” said Wiyaala. “We’ve also organised a talent show for the children, traditional dancing and drumming as well as the main show, which features artists from Tumu and Funsi. We are also hoping King Ayisoba is going to join us.”

The Bliss Eye Care Facility was established and launched on January 30, 2016 by Dr Zakarea Al-hassan Balure, an Optometrist, with support from Vision 2020, Christopher Vodin and Gerhard Heidenreich of Switzerland. Dr Balure, who is also the Manager of Bliss Eye Care, said the BS4Ks project seeks to complement the National Eye Health Programme to realise its aim of eliminating avoidable blindness by the year 2020 through effective management of refractive disorders using children as an entry point.

Support has been provided by thr Pro Visus organisation in Switzerland which has enabled Bliss Eye Care to provide free eye care services to a total of 296 students from both basic and second cycle schools in the Jirapa District of the Upper West Region.

Under its BS4Ks project, a total of 6,040 students comprising 3,590 from nine basic schools and 2,450 from second cycle schools in the district including St. Francis Girls, Jirapa and Ullo Senior High Schools were screened for various eye conditions. Out of the 296 found to have various eye problems, 86 of them were given spectacles to correct their condition while the remaining 210 were provided with various medications to help address their visual problems.

Dr Balure said: “The project will vigorously pursue a sustained education to break the negative myth surrounding the use of spectacles as the reserve of the elites, rich and affluent in society.” He said the project would contribute to ensuring good eyesight for a large population, especially children who need care for refractive errors.

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