ACS International School students join medical team onboard ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital

ACS students visit Panama as part of sight-saving charity mission.

ACS students visit Panama as part of sight-saving charity mission.ACS International School students, Yousif Salih, aged 16, Fidan Damirova, aged 17, Gianfilippo Ruggiero, aged 17, and Sofie Sørskå Engen, aged 17, travelled to Panama this summer, aboard the world famous ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital. The sight-saving charity mission is part of an internship sponsored by ACS International Schools Foundation and ORBIS; an international sight-saving charity training eye care teams in developing countries and improving worldwide access to quality eye care.The programme, now entering its thirteenth year, provides students with a unique learning opportunity, building on the school’s fundamental belief that true learning is not confined to the classroom. The students were awarded their places on the trip following a rigorous application process. This involved a written application and an interview with a panel of six representatives from ACS International Schools, ACS International Schools Foundation and ORBIS. ACS Cobham student Fidan Damirova commented,“the work ORBIS does is truly life changing for people who cannot afford to get the medical help they need. The ORBIS team not only cure people, but also help teach local doctors, which is really important work, as they are the ones who will perform treatments for the local community later on. I am very happy that I’ve had the opportunity to take part. It was an experience I will never forget.”ACS Egham student Sofie Sørskå Engen commented, “it is an honour to be part of such an incredible programme. It holds a particular value to me because my sister suffers from a neurological illness that affects her eyesight. Seeing the impact that great doctors have had in her life has made me realise how incredible ORBIS’ work really is.”The four students joined ophthalmologists in August aboard a DC-10 aircraft specially converted into a teaching hospital. On-board the refurbished aircraft, students were on hand to witness the ORBIS international medical team exchange knowledge with and improve the skills of local doctors, nurses and technicians. The students observed surgery and provided post-operative support, experiencing first hand the difference that ORBIS volunteer doctors and nurses make to people’s lives.Florence Branchu, ORBIS Corporate Partnerships Manager commented,“ORBIS is proud to offer ACS students this unique opportunity of seeing international development in action and witnessing how ORBIS is tackling preventable blindness in developing countries. During their visit to Panama they gathered case studies, shadowed staff and captured our sight-saving work through their own eyes. The calibre of students is always high and the team on-board the Flying Eye Hospital thoroughly enjoy having them aboard. We look forward to welcoming them and all they have gathered, back to the UK.”

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