Project Morning Star Field Trip 2019: Volunteering on a Journey of Hope

This year's "Project Morning Star" Phase Two Field Trip was held from 1-6 Sep 2019. A group of 19 volunteers including 16 Jebsen colleagues from different cities and Business Lines, 1 Jebsen Scholarship winner from Taiwan and 2 Orbis Student Ambassadors from Hong Kong, visited Yifeng County in Jiangxi Province as well as Hue in Vietnam.

The Group collaborated with ORBIS to launch "Project Morning Star" in 2011. After the success of Phase 1, the Group kick-started Phase 2 in 2016 with a donation of RMB 7.4 million dedicated towards the establishment of China's first "National Model of Comprehensive Rural Eye Care Network". The network was initiated by the National Institute of Hospital Administration (NIHA), in collaboration with the internationally-recognised NGO, ORBIS International (ORBIS). Six county-level hospitals were selected as pilot sites to create a new sustainable and replicable model of ophthalmological treatment for county-level hospitals in rural China.

In Jiangxi Province, Jebsen volunteers visited the Yifeng County People's Hospital and the Fangxi Village Clinic to deepen their knowledge of the local medical system and facilities.

Volunteers also received training to conduct basic eye screenings. They were able to put their training to use shortly after. The volunteers conducted eye screenings for local residents and also at Shishi Central Primary School. They later travelled to Tanshan Central Kindergarten to share information on eye care.

Another memorable part of the trip was visiting various beneficiaries of the project. All three of the three elderlies live with their spouses in the village, and none of them have fixed incomes. Funded by Project Morning Star, these elders have been able to undergo cataract surgery, which has significantly improved their eyesight and their quality of life. 

The last stop of the field trip was at Hue, Vietnam. The volunteers visited Hue Central Hospital as well as Orbis' third generation Flying Eye Hospital (FEH). These visits provided volunteers with an opportunity to better understand the challenges within the healthcare system faced by developing countries, as well as how ORBIS' training programmes and work have been able to help the local community.

As of September 2019, a total of 13 field trips have been organised, with over 150 Jebsen volunteers, witnessing the changes and impact that Project Morning Star has made in China.