Felicien and his wife have 5 children. He is the only source of income for the family. He left school to train as a tailor and has worked in the same textile factory ever since. He works 9 hours a day, 6 days a week, sewing one item at a time – a button, a sleeve, a collar – before passing it onto a colleague. Good vision is vital for Felicien’s intricate work.
A few years ago, Felicien noticed he was struggling to see clearly when threading a needle, something he does dozens of time every day. His vision was getting worse and starting to affect his work.
“I was worried because I was not performing properly at work. It would take 20 minutes to do what previously took me 7 minutes,”
Felicien was worried. He knew that if his vision kept getting worse he would lose his job. One day, a team of nurses visited the factory and offered eye exams to workers over 40, as near vision often starts to deteriorate at around this age.
“They asked me what my vision problem was and I explained it to them. Then they did the test and gave me this paper (a prescription for glasses)… but then they also gave me the glasses at the same time, for free!”
With his new glasses, Felicien can thread the needle perfectly again. He is back working at top speed – good news for him and his employer! Now confident that his job is secure once more, Felicien has high hopes for his family. Like every parent, he wants his children to be self-sufficient and to see them follow their dreams.
“If my kids are able to study, they can even go farther than I have gone. They will be able to have a better life, and to provide for themselves.”
Felicien’s story was made possible by the brilliant work of Vision for a Nation. Their award-winning programme has ensured that every single person in Rwanda has access to local, affordable eye care. Find out more