Over 2,000 People Helped in El Salvador

Mission Trip to El SalvadorLast month, Tracy Matchinski, O.D. from the Illinois College of Optometry (ICO) traveled to El Salvador with VOSH Illinois for a mission trip.

In just six days, 22 volunteers helped over 2,000 people! The volunteers were comprised of six students from SVOSH ICO, an O.D. from VOSH Illinois and 15 team members from FUDEM, a non-profit organization in El Salvador.

The team distributed the 300 readers and 100 sunglasses from Restoring Vision that National Vision donated for this trip. An additional 1,283 pairs of glasses will be made and distributed by FUDEM. This makes the 42nd mission trip we have supported in 2017.

Mission Trip to El Salvador


It can change a person’s life to see clearly, to be able to look someone in the eye, to connect with the world.– SVOSH ICO Student

This was the first time working with FUDEM and it is a sound clinic model. We went to five different clinic locations in more rural El Salvador.  All examinations were free and glasses were very inexpensive.  If a person could not afford them, FUDEM had programs to help.– VOSH Illinois O.D.

About El Salvador

Map of El Salvador

Image Credit: U.S. Dept of State

El Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. Its capital and largest city is San Salvador and its population consists largely of Mestizos of European and Indigenous American descent.

El Salvador’s economy has historically been dominated by agriculture, beginning with the indigo plant and then followed by coffee, accounting for 90 percent of export earnings at its prime. El Salvador has since reduced its dependence on coffee and embarked on diversifying the economy by opening up trade and financial links and expanding the manufacturing sector. However, the country continues to struggle with high rates of poverty, inequality and crime.

As is the case with many Latin American countries, eye problems are common in El Salvador and are due in great part to a lack of resources. There is an overwhelming amount of blindness and suffering directly related to preventable diseases of the eye.

More Pictures From El Salvador

Jessica Altamirano

Jessica Altamirano

Communications Specialist at National Vision, Inc.
Jessica Altamirano is a proud Veteran spouse who has worked for NVI since 2014. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. Jessica is passionate about corporate-nonprofit partnerships, philanthropic efforts in developing countries, Veteran recruitment, and creating a culture of health and wellness in the workplace.
Jessica Altamirano