MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Worldwide Orphans, a Maplewood-based non-profit organization, has partnered with New Eyes, based in Short Hills, to deliver eyeglasses to orphaned and at-risk children in Ethiopia.

In Ethiopia, pediatric eyeglass frames are not only expensive, but they are difficult to find at all.  Orphaned and at-risk children with vision problems often struggle in school. Worldwide Orphans and New Eyes worked with public health students at the Mount Sinai School of Global Health, as well as the German non-profit, Sigmun Vitae, to conduct vision screening for students at the Worldwide Orphans Academy and patients at the Worldwide Orphans/AIDS Healthcare Foundation Clinic, both located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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While some of the donated glasses met the vision needs of children right away, others had to be ground to the proper prescription, a service that Signum Vitae provides.

“Vision is a magical and miraculous thing,” said Dr. Jane Aronson, Founder and CEO of Worldwide Orphans (WWO), “It is part of sensory awareness and human connection. Orphans and at-risk children face many challenges in life, including social connections and education. It’s wonderful to know that vision problems will no longer be an impediment to learning and growing.”

This is the second year that WWO and New Eyes have worked together to deliver pediatric eyeglass frames to students in Addis Ababa. In 2012 New Eyes donated 500 glasses, and in 2013 that number has grown to 600.

“For decades, New Eyes has provided eyeglasses to the poor throughout the developing world, but we are especially happy to help the most vulnerable of all – children,” said Jean Gajano Executive Director of New Eyes, “We know that the glasses these children receive will make a deep and lasting impact on their lives and we are grateful for partners like Worldwide Orphans who get our glasses to the right places and in the right hands.”