Dedicated students have returned from a challenging stay in Vietnam working with a charity that fights blindness.

Sonia Ali and Charline Muller, both 17 - students from ACS Egham International School in London Road - took part in a journalism internship in Vietnam’s Hue Province with global sight-saving charity Orbis.

They reported on the medical and community work supported by Orbis by posting regular blogs, photos, and social media updates. They will also be making a short film covering visits to the homes of children who had had eye operations.

Orbis works globally to transform lives in developing countries by providing the skills, resources and knowledge needed to eliminate avoidable blindness. The ACS International Schools Foundation has been a partner since 2000.

On their trip, the students visited Hue Eye Hospital and Hue Central Hospital to meet with doctors and nurses and learn about paediatric eye services. Interviewing parents and observing children’s eye surgeries gave the students a real insight into Orbis’s work. They also spent a day at the Friends of Hue Foundation Children’s Shelter to experience a community eye care screening, and also spent time with surgery patients and their families who had been treated within the local hospital.

Sonia Ali said: “There are 1.57 million people in Vietnam who are suffering from vision impairment or blindness. I don’t think I fully understood the true meaning of this number until I saw how poor eye sight can impact people with my own two eyes.

“Witnessing both the stark reality of visual impairment and the impact of Orbis’s work by saving sight and transforming lives has broadened my perspective and inspired me to make a difference in the lives of others.”

Sonia and Charline were joined on the trip by three other ACS students, Ife Owoeye from ACS Cobham International School; Julie Lestrup from ACS Hillingdon International School and Louise Danielle Aurelia from ACS Doha International School.