Around the world, October 5 is World Teacher’s Day. A day dedicated to celebrating the amazing work of teachers, highlighting the value they add, and advocating for their rights.
This year’s theme is “Teachers at the heart of education recovery”, which is about putting teachers first and providing them with the support they need. It recognises that our educators have had a particularly tough time over the last two years of COVID-19 restrictions and that to get things back on track we need to prioritise their needs. The theme calls for more investment in support, training, and professional development opportunities so that educators at all levels can enrich their practice and continue to adapt to the needs of their students.
Like our founder, Fred Hollows, we are passionate about teaching, which is why training and supporting eye care workers is a key pillar of what we do. Fred knew that training just one eye doctor could have a huge impact; because they could go on to train hundreds more.
“Teach the teachers first, then the teachers can teach others.”
– PROFESSOR FRED HOLLOWS
One of the eye doctors we have been able to support is Dr Vara Naviri from Fiji. Dr Naviri was sponsored by The Foundation to complete her Master of Medicine in Ophthalmology in 2013 and is now an Assistant Professor at Fiji National University. For the last year and a half, she has been involved in training both undergraduates and postgraduate students, including others that have been sponsored by The Foundation. Before working with our team at the Pacific Eye Institute in Suva, Dr Naviri worked as an ophthalmologist in Lumbasa with the Ministry of Health.
Dr Naviri decided to study ophthalmology because she found it so rewarding. She liked that it combined almost every aspect of medicine and that she got to see the direct impact she had on someone when their bandages were removed and they could see again. Since becoming more involved in teaching, Dr Naviri has found that rewarding feeling grow even more.
“With patients, you feel like you are influencing somebody’s life. But with teaching, you know that the student that you are teaching will go out and affect so many lives. So, it’s a triple or quadruple effect, if I must say. So that’s really rewarding”
- DR VARA NAVIRI
When we caught up with Dr Naviri at a teaching outreach in Nadi earlier this year, she shared a special message of thanks to all the people who have supported The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ.
“I would like to thank The Foundation, to thank the sponsors. First of all for training me. I was sponsored by Fred Hollows, and now I am helping trainees who are sponsored by Fred Hollows. Going out on outreaches that are sponsored by Fred Hollows. So thank you to all the donors for making this possible. For enabling eye care to be delivered in Fiji.”
- DR VARA NAVIRI