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Sight for little eyes

Seventeen-year-old orphan Pavel Pigasovs eyesight has deteriorated to minus-6.5 over the past few years, yet for as long as he can remember he has worn the same glasses with the wrong prescription.

He has always suffered, with headaches and blurred vision, said Antonina Sareyeva, who directs the Komsomolsky orphanage in the Ivanovo region where Pavel and 23 other children received a pair of free glasses, with the right prescription, last month. The glasses were a gift from Moscow optical chain LensMaster, which sent a team of ophthalmologists to conduct eye exams at the orphanage 300 kilometers north of Moscow. LensMaster, which has nine stores and counting in Moscow and operates similar to American chain LensCrafters, then made glasses for the children who needed them.

For Pavel, it was the first time in his life that he was able to see properly. He is so happy. Hes a teenager and as with all teenagers aesthetics matter too, Sareyeva said. For the first time he has a beautiful, stylish pair of glasses that work. He is ecstatic.

LensMasters Marina Sukhotskaya said many of the 70 children they tested had astigmatism and the wrong glasses. The children were very happy to see us. When the ophthalmologists tested their sight, they started looking around and they smiled because it really must have been the first time they saw so perfectly.

LensMasters work with orphanages will not stop here, Sukhotskaya said. We anticipate doing this at least twice a year, working with different orphanages. The company found the Komsomolsky orphanage through the Russian office of US-registered charity Childrens HopeChest, which has programs across the three regions of Vladimir, Kostroma and Ivanovo.

Childrens HopeChest began its work in Russia in the Moscow region in the early 1990s, providing material, medical and educational support to orphans.

When its workers ventured beyond the Moscow region, they decided to focus on orphanages further from the capital, whose needs they found to be greater.

The charity is constantly looking for new partners.

If your organization is interested in providing support to orphanages in the Vladimir, Kostroma and Ivanovo regions, please contact Ekaterina Selenina, National Director of Childrens HopeChest, at 270 9237. The charity does not work with adoptions and focuses its efforts on older orphans, helping them with the difficult transition from orphanage to the outside world.

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