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Thursday, 25 April 2019 11:49 pm

Wellington spectacles bound for the Pacific

Jul 27th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News

glassesmainABOUT 750 pairs of recycled glasses will find new owners in the Pacific thanks to the Karori Lions Club.

Member Jennie Vowles says she would like to see even more glasses donated to help the visually impaired in impoverished areas.

She says that what seems to be a minor thing for us can radically change the lives of people in need.

“With a little bit of effort what could we achieve?” says Jennie.

The Recycle for Sight campaign is part of a global initiative run by Lions Clubs around the world which aims to end preventable blindness by helping with costs and access to eye-care facilities.

More than 4 million pairs of donated glasses are collected and redistributed annually to developing countries.

Donated glasses are gathered in New Zealand from collection points and sent to Auckland or Christchurch where they are sorted, cleaned and repaired by volunteer optometrists.

Some are redistributed to those in need in New Zealand, but the majority are used in the Pacific by the charitable trust Volunteer Ophthalmic Service Overseas – an annual project which sends New Zealand eye-care specialists to various south Pacific countries.

The recycling is part of the extended Lions Sightfirst II campaign which raised more than US$200 million from 2005 to 2008 for vision programmes.

Since the first Lion Sightfirst campaigns in the 1990s the programme has enabled 818 projects in 90 countries, funded millions of cataract surgeries and provided treatment for river-blindness and vision loss for 27 million people.

The campaigns have also trained thousands of eye-care professionals and funded hundreds of hospitals and clinics, while also providing eye-care centres with new equipment.

The Lion’s service to the blind and visually impaired stems from an appeal made by Helen Keller – born deaf, blind, and mute – who challenged them to be “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness” during the association’s 1925 International Convention in the United States.

The Lions Club International is the largest service organisation in the world with a membership of 1.3 million members in 203 countries around the globe.

Unwanted glasses can be donated to Visique and OPSM Optometrists or by contacting your local Lions Club.

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is a Whitireia Journalism student.
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