The Netherlands – Oogvereniging Migrants Day

The Eye Association organized this year's Migrant Day on Saturday 12th of November in the Hague. The topic of the meeting was "Work". There were 75 persons in total. This year, Ukrainian migrants joined, there were 7 of them. Migrants with eye diseases are already better-known about thanks to the Eye Association. The Eye Association's Migrant Support Center has more and more recognition and trust.

The biggest problem is that municipalities usually do not know how to help migrants with eye diseases. Without knowledge of the language it is very difficult to find a job, and then the next reason for refusing to offer work is the presence of vision problems. Migrants are sent to the municipalities, which should help, and they, in turn, can't offer anything, and it turns into a vicious circle. Municipalities should offer more customized solutions and work better with Bartiméus, Visio and Oogvereniging. All these organizations were present at the Migrant's Day.

Migrants could discuss with each other what they faced and share their experiences with each other. There were many emotions and also some disappointments. There were many confessions. Many migrants, especially who were educated and had worked in their own country, want to work in the Netherlands, participate and be useful in society and for society. Many Ukrainian migrants are people with a higher education who are actively looking for work. One Ukrainian migrant said: “I found an unskilled job only after I hid that I had problems with my eyes.”

The director of the Eye Association was there all day. Everyone could ask questions and discuss their problems.

The Eye Association, and in particular, the Migrant Support Centre, have a good understanding of the most common problems faced by migrants with eye diseases. We are going to inform the municipalities and lobby the House of Representatives to bring more attention to this issue. Many people find ways to learn Dutch, look for work, try to participate as much as possible and want to live a normal life in the Netherlands.