Skip to content

Vision Excellence Awards: Yvonne Reifler

Yvonne started working as a director for Mekong Eye Doctors, the Eye Care Foundation’s predecessor, in 1999, the same year VISION 2020 the Right to Sight initiative was launched. After twenty years of working in low- and middle-income countries in Africa and Asia, partly as a member of the Dutch Volunteer Service, Yvonne committed herself to eye care. In 2008 Yvonne became Project Director at the Eye Care Foundation, which allowed her to execute her clear vision on sustainable eye care services. Yvonne foresaw what was needed to bring about sustainable changes in eye care services. From supporting local leadership and cooperation to knowledge transfer and infrastructural improvements at a grassroots level, her strategies were fully aligned with the VISION 2020 action plan and agenda, even before the Eye Care Foundation became a proud member of the IAPB.

Yvonne applies her mastered skills and high-quality professionalism to the eye care projects to maximum effect. Over the last 20 years, Yvonne showed an extraordinary level of dedication to designing, launching, and managing the Eye Care Foundation projects in Asia and Africa.

As the testimonials below show, Yvonne operates as a respectful coach to local leadership in the countries where the Eye Care Foundation is active. She contributes compassion, with hands-on effectiveness, unprecedented energy, experience, and wisdom to the implementation of the Eye Care Foundation projects in advocacy, innovation, institution-building, and disease control.

Since late 2019 the world is being challenged by COVID-19. Here Yvonne also demonstrated her proactive, pragmatic, and supportive approach by prioritizing protecting the health care infrastructure and asking our partners what they require to protect themselves and their beneficiaries. That was a demonstration of Yvonne’s professionalism, respect to local partners, and her attention to the vulnerable people within any context. Yvonne deeply understands the Eye Care Foundation’s partners’ needs.
She strives to reach the necessary joint commitment, participation, belief, and support of all involved, to achieve the desired results. This approach defines Yvonne, as well as her unstoppable positive outlook and unmatched zest for life.

Her contribution in these areas is highly valued by many, as demonstrated by the following testimonials:

‘Under the leadership of Yvonne, from 1999 to the present time, we were able to successfully contribute in our eye care projects to the decrease the prevalence of blindness in Nepal from 0,84 to 0,35 %.’
~ Anil Gorkhaly. Country Representative Eye Care Foundation Nepal

‘Yvonne has played a great role in executing RAAB studies in various Tanzania regions and initiating the ECF NURU project. Her advocacy for eye health has put Tanzania eye health services on the map.’
~ Daniel Wilbard Mashele, Program manager Eye Care Foundation Tanzania

‘Yvonne is a friendly, kind, generous, and helpful person. Everyone in the community loves her…’
~ Dr. Khamphua Soutthisombath, Ophthalmologist, Director of the National Ophthalmology Institute Vientiane, Laos

‘She combines her extensive experience with practical and down to earth insight and with great commitment towards the goals of VISION 2020.’
~ Margreet Hogeweg, Ophthalmologist, CBM former Medical Advisor for CEAR (retired), member Dutch Workgroup Tropical Eye Care

‘Yvonne stands out as a dedicated visionary expert, who always takes a strong stand for vulnerable people.’
~ Ruud Lapré, Professor Emeritus Health Care Policy and former Chair of ECF-Board.

‘Yvonne is an excellent team player; she collaborates very well with the colleagues in the field.’
~ Mr. Wouter Meijer, former Vice Chairman Eye Care Foundation, former Executive Director World Population Foundation, former Staff Member World Bank

‘Yvonne understands and respects other cultures.’
~ J. Marius den Boon, Ophthalmologist, former Chair of ECF-Board

‘Dear Yvonne, thank you for all of your fantastic work over so many years.’
~ Henk Dragt, ophthalmologist, former Board member Mekong Eye Doctors Doctors (predecessor Eye Care Foundation)

‘Her wealth of experience, networking skills, and ability to connect with people are very inspiring.’
~ Jop Bruin, team Eye Care Foundation