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Winners of the Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund announced



Wednesday 24 January 2018

(Pictured Left-Right – Asad Javed, Huma Batha)

The two bursary winners of the Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund (IAMF) which supports students to work with Vision Aid overseas have been announced.

Huma Batha, 20, from City University and Asad Javed, 21, from the University of Bradford have been picked and will be heading off to Africa next summer for two weeks.

They will be supported by Vision Aid Overseas to provide training to local eye care workers, to establish Vision Centres where patients can access eye care services and to support outreach services in rural communities.  

Both students were in London for interviews on Wednesday 6 December 2017 and will head off on their assignment to Africa in summer 2018. The exact location has not been chosen yet, however for the last two years it has been in Zambia.

Huma Batha said:

“I’m thrilled to have been selected for this bursary. The opportunity to take my skills to a country that urgently needs them is thrilling and a privilege.”

Asad Javed added:

“With so many people in developing countries needing support with protecting their eyesight, I cannot think of a better way to give something back than spending some time working with them.”

The volunteers are crucial to Vision Aid Overseas and help them to achieve their mission to fight poverty by transforming access to eye care and affordable glasses in Africa.

For more information on Vison Aid Overseas visit



Notes to editors

Irvine George Aitchison MA, LL B(Cantab), FSMC, FBOA, Barrister-at-Law, led a distinguished life of wide ranging interests.  He had been President of the Ski Club of Great Britain and of the Alpine Ski Club and was held in wide esteem in many circles both within and outside optics.  In 1911 he assumed responsibility for the firm of Aitchison & Co. and in 1927 took over the ailing Dollond & Co. on which he built the foundations for the optical group Dollond & Aitchison.  He was an active member of the Society of Opticians Executive Committee until his death in 1965.  He played a prominent part in promoting the Opticians Act 1958 and was a founder member of the General Optical Council.

In 1966 the members of the Society of Opticians formed the Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund (a registered educational charity) to commemorate its first chairman.  In 1985 the members of the Society joined the newly formed Federation of (Ophthalmic and Dispensing) Opticians (FODO) and the Society ceased to exist.  The Trustees of The Irvine Aitchison Memorial Fund are grateful to FODO for providing office and secretarial services for this Fund.

Irvine Aitchison’s sense of adventure, combined with an unfailing demand for high standards in education, led The Trustees to form an arrangement with Vision Aid Overseas to allow two students a chance to join a Vision Aid Overseas assignment.