Preeti wins charity bursary for overseas visit

Published: 13 January 2015 at 09:14

An optometry student has won a national bursary to enable her to experience eye care work in Africa.

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Preeti Sanghera, who is in her second year of BOptom (Hons) Optometry, competed against students from all over the country to be one of only three students awarded Vision Aid Overseas' Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund (IAMF) student bursary.

The experience will see Preeti working alongside qualified optometrists in developing African communities in summer 2015, carrying out eye tests and dispensing glasses, as well as gaining real life experience of certain conditions that do not exist in the UK, such as trachoma.

Preeti said:

"We'll have the most basic equipment and will be making do and improvising for the most part. For a lot of people we'll be seeing it'll be the first time, and maybe the last, they'll ever have an eye sight test."

The Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund (IAMF) was set up in memory of Irvine Aitchison, who had a special interest in education. Focusing on providing opportunities for students of optometry, it aims to broaden students' horizons and give them new insights into the profession.

Preeti added:

"A lot of people see a career in optometry as sitting 9 to 5 in one room doing sight test after sight test, but it can be so much more than that. I think the experience will help develop me as a person, I haven't quite figured out what type of optometrist I want to be and I think this will be a stepping stone in helping me figure that out.

"The support I was given throughout the application process helped me enormously, and my family and friends are now bursting with pride. I'm so proud to be representing Anglia Ruskin and my class."