May 2013, Darling, Western Cape


You wouldn’t be surprised to altsee eye-catching fashions at Evita se Perron in Darling, home of Pieter-Dirk Uys and his alter-ego Evita Bezuidenhout – ‘the most famous white woman in South Africa’. But it isn’t the first place you’d think you might find an eye clinic. Yet in the first week of May, the waiting room of the old pink railway station was taken over by Reach4Sight.


Under paintings and photos of Evita with people like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and altSophia Loren, the space was transformed into an eye clinic for the underprivileged of the Darling community.


This was just one of five clinics in the area, a joint effort between Reach4Sight and The Darling Trust, established in 2003 by founding member and current patron, Pieter-Dirk Uys. The Darling Trust sponsored the lenses and Reach4Sight donated its time and expertise, as well as the spectacle frames.


Those who benefited from this collaboration included 60 altfive-year-olds at the Early Childhood Development Centre established and funded by the Darling Trust –appropriately called ‘Evita’s Darlings’. It also involved some 390 Grade 4–9s at Vooruitsig Primêr, Darling Laerskool and a farm school about six kilometres out of town. Nearly 90 old-age pensioners took advantage of the clinics held at Evita se Perron and the VGK church hall. 


In all, Reach4Sight optometrist altKeith Reid screened or examined 535 people. Two of these have been referred to the nearest local hospital for cataract operations while another 55 have received their new spectacles. For the children it’s a chance at an improved learning experience in the classroom, for the oldies, a welcome relief from the multiple frustrations of daily life with poor vision: think threading a needle, seeing price tags on food at the local shop, reading your Bible – all often-repeated complaints.


Thanks to Tasha St John-Reid and Anna Cleophas of the Darling Trust for their co-operation and warm hospitality, and to other community members who so willingly assisted, especially Yolanda Essa, Afrika Solomons and Niklaas Filander.

































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