The project "Opticians in Kurdistan" is to launch a training school for opticians in Sulaymaniyah, in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The project is a collaboration between CTS and the NGO "Asian Renewal Incorporated - Iraq" that operates in a public Ophthalmologic Hospital. Both work together for many years. CTS provides support in project management and participates in the financing.
The 12-months-training is for staff with prior medical knowledge. Its format is an apprenticeship, including practice and theory. The training focuses on manufacturing glasses. It is intended to teach a first group of six students, teach a second group with one or two assistants from the first group, and oversee the formation of a third group. Monthly assessments of knowledge and skills acquired are planned. Some ophthalmologists are also involved in training.
Premises were prepared to host a workshop to make glasses, a training room and an exhibition space and sales for customers. After the first year the project should be self-supporting and after three years the technical part will be passed into local hands. The training should start before the end of 2016.
The manager of this project is an experienced Swiss optician. He has written a manual of 700 pages with many illustrations (see PDF Lens Technology and Workshop). This manual is sufficiently comprehensive to enable an optician who has completed the training to train apprentices.
The market of glasses in Sulaymaniyah is in the hands of foreign optical stores or run by people without formal training and working on the traditional market. It is thus difficult to obtain well adapted and affordable glasses at the same time. This project aims to overcome this gap. The poorest and projects for the refugees in the area will also benefit from this service. A public service seems adequate to achieve this objective.
Sulaymaniyah is a province capital in the north-east of Iraq (south of Kursitan). The city has 1.2 million inhabitants.
Funding for this project includes the fitting-out of buildings, equipment and initial stock.