Skip to Content

The Karen Sparrow Scholarship Scheme

Karen Sparrow

Earlier this year, we lost our friend and colleague Karen Sparrow.  

Karen had a wide-ranging professional career that included time as an optometrist in practice and, most recently, as a global programme manager for Peek Vision—overseeing global training and development for new programmes, building up knowledge in the field, and translating it to enable sustainable implementation and scale up. Many people also knew Karen through her work as a volunteer trainer and Africa lead for Vision Aid Overseas. 

Karen was an indispensable member of our team, and we miss her dearly. To celebrate her life, we have created a scholarship fund for those aspiring optometrists and ophthalmologists committed to providing quality eye care to those in need, just as Karen did throughout her career.

In December 2019, The Peek Vision Foundation Trustees established a three-year scholarship which has now provided scholarships for 70 eye health staff from Low or Middle-Income Countries to attend the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) short course on Global Eye Health.

In 2022, the Trustees announced they would like to extend the scholarship in Karen’s name and in line with all that she represented for a further three years. The Karen Sparrow scholarship will run from 2023 with a budget of £5,000 per annum.

It will be open to one optometrist from a Low or Middle-Income Country wishing to pursue public eye health to attend the Global Eye Health short course in person, or if online, it would be open to all cadres, including optometrists, up to the £5,000.

The scholarship aims to invest in potential global eye health leaders and provide them with career-changing opportunities by providing scholarships to attend the LSHTM short course on Global Eye Health.

To illustrate the impact that receiving the scholarship can have, we are sharing Dr Okolo’s story. Dr Okolo Oteri Eme is the National Coordinator of the National Eye Health programme in Nigeria. She was one of the first scholars to attend the course in July 2020 and received a full scholarship from LSHTM to attend the MSc in Public Health for Eye Care, which she completed in June 2022. Of the scholarship and subsequent masters, she said:

“It’s been a rewarding experience and something that has changed my life forever. For me, it’s been a journey, and it’s been growth. It’s increased my confidence in public eye care and my network in the public eye health space. Training one person or giving one person an opportunity, a scholarship, opens doors for so many other people because it’s not about taking the knowledge for yourself alone. It’s something you share and ensure that people around you and your country hopefully benefit from the knowledge you have gained.”

Read Dr Oteri Eme’s story here

The scholarship will be open as soon as the course dates have been confirmed.