Semester 6 students from the Faculty of Optometry and Vision Sciences at SEGi University, led by the esteemed Chief of Low Vision Clinic, Indira Madhavan, visited St Nicholas’ Home, Penang, on 26 April 2024.

This visit, integral to their low vision curriculum, aimed to provide firsthand experience and understanding of the challenges and rehabilitation methods pertinent to the visually impaired community.

St Nicholas’ Home, Penang, established in 1926, has long been a beacon of hope for Malaysia’s blind and visually impaired (BVI) community. The institution offers comprehensive services and training to individuals regardless of religion, race, or background.

This dedication to inclusivity and empowerment is reflected in their tailored programmes and vocational training, which equip individuals with essential living skills and facilitate employment opportunities, fostering independence and self-sufficiency.

The facility, nestled on a six-acre expanse, boasts state-of-the-art amenities, ensuring optimal learning and accommodation for residents and trainees alike.

This includes dedicated Taska classes for BVI children and a nurturing environment for senior citizens, underscoring their mission to cater to diverse age groups within the visually impaired community.

Students engaged with BVIs during the visit, gaining insights into their daily lives and challenges. They conducted assessments, including history-taking, to better understand individual needs and formulate personalised rehabilitation plans.

This hands-on experience is invaluable for students, enhancing their appreciation for the transformative impact of vision rehabilitation services. According to the World Health Organization, over 2.2 billion people globally have a vision impairment or blindness, highlighting the critical need for such services.

In Malaysia, approximately 1.2% of the population is visually impaired, emphasising the importance of institutions like St Nicholas’ Home in addressing these needs.

The field trip was a poignant reminder of the resilience and spirit of the visually impaired community. It illuminated the vital role of optometry and vision sciences in restoring independence and dignity.

As SEGi University students return to their studies, they carry a newfound appreciation for their future roles in enhancing the quality of life for BVIs. St Nicholas’ Home, Penang, remains an invaluable cornerstone in the journey towards inclusivity and empowerment, continuing to inspire generations with its unwavering commitment to serving the visually impaired community. This visit enriched the students’ academic experience and reinforced SEGi University’s dedication to providing practical, impactful learning opportunities for its students.

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