In Jakarta, refugees without legal status who suffer from eyesight problems are unable to access local healthcare services. Since Indonesia is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, they do not have an obligation to abide by it.

Refugees and Asylum Seekers Information Centre (RAIC) is an organisation founded and led by refugees in Jakarta to provide health, legal and other essential support to refugees in Indonesia.

They used their Little Things grant to cover the cost of five mobile Refugee Eye Clinic events. The clinic launched in May 2018, where eye medication and glasses were provided to approximately 50 refugees. The programme was held monthly and at different locations, so that a wide range of refugee communities could be assessed.

With over 15 volunteers helping, RAIC collaborated with seven refugee centres and each clinic was conducted by an experienced eye doctor and assisted by a GP.

In addition to eyesight problems, many patients had symptoms including itchiness and eye infections.

“Most of our patients live with bad water, bad housing, dirt roads and very hot humid climates. We believe these reasons combined cause additional eye issues,” explained Mozhgan Moarefizadeh, co-founder of RAIC.

“We also met refugees who were affected by car and motorbike accidents and had serious eye problems. We were able to fill out a medical assessment form for these patients, provide the necessary treatment report to UNHCR and IOM through our Legal Aid program, and help the patient access the right help.”

It is predicted that approximately 30 per cent of attendees may need eye surgeries to prevent future eye problems. For additional clinics in the future, they plan to provide surgeries for those who need it inside the eye specialist’s clinic.

There is currently a waiting list of more than 6,500 refugees who need these services. The five clinics held across the year were a success and there is certainly a need to continue to expand.

“We hope our collaboration with HOST International continues and together we can grow the positive impact directly on the refugee community.

For more information on RAIC, please visit http://raicindonesia.org/. If you are interested in supporting Little Things’ grants, please donate directly to HOST International.