|Santro & Peche Opticians World Sight Day Challenge|
Help restore sight to millions with a chance to win some amazing prizes
Did you know 670 Million People (ten times the UK population) are blind or visually impaired as they have no access to basic eye care or spectacles? Chiswick opticians, Santro & Peche want to help to something about this and are marking World Sight Day by launching a series of fundraising projects aiming to restore sight to millions.
For the third year, the High Road opticians will be accepting any unwanted pairs of glasses to donate to Vision Aid Overseas, a charity which transforms access to quality eyecare in developing countries. If you don't wear glasses you can still help the work of Vision Aid Overseas by buying a ticket in their luxury raffle (see right for details).
Speaking about his company's charity work, Shafquet Mohamed said: "The work of Vision Aid Overseas is fantastic. By giving the gift of sight to people in the developing world, they also give the potential to work and make money and provide for their families.
"I would really like to thank all the generous donors who gave prizes and to West 4 Printers for all their help with printing and hope that the people of Chiswick show their support and participate in our Luxury Raffle (all the proceeds of which will go directly to our charity parnters). And For those wanting to donate any old spectacles, what better incentive than to receive £50.00 off Nikon lenses when buying a new pair?!"
Santro & Peche began their campaign leading by example. The Chiswick pair sponsored fellow optician Pauline enabling her to join a team of four during a VSO organised project in Ethiopia.
Pauline said: "I was fortunate enough to have travelled extensively around Asia and South America, almost immediately after having qualified as an optometrist. Poverty was widespread and it was plain to see from an eye care practitioner's perspective that hardly anyone in any of the developing countries I visited wore glasses.
"Uncorrected refractive error is the leading cause of blindness. Only the well-off can afford glasses -there is no state-funded health-care system that can provide for the poor. This is why, having been told about the work of VAO on my return to the UK, I researched their projects and underwent training to be able to join them on an overseas project team member.
She continued: "We lectured and supervised ophthalmic nurses and cataract surgeons in refraction and prescribing of spectacles. The glasses we gave to the patients were provided by the spectacle donation boxes that you commonly find in your local opticians.
"My most moving experiences were when young patients at extreme ends of the refractive spectrum came to the clinic having been guided by family members. They were guided to the consulting room chair and shown where to sit . These patients were functionally blind. This equates to them being dependent on family members to provide for their every need; they are unable to work and therefore offer no financial assistance to their families, which often struggle at the best of times. The student had never, up to that point, seen prescriptions of such extremes and were at a loss to know how to proceed. I was therefore asked to step in and help."
Twenty pounds is more than the average wage a person earns in a few months. Unfortunately access to optometrists is severely limited, being available in only the major cities.
Vision Aid Overseas has been bringing this service directly to the people in rural areas (mainly Africa and India) for over 25 years. The charity is moving in the direction of sustainability in recent years by training local medical staff who can provide the same service all year round – allowing a far greater number of people to be able to access this service.
"Although hard work and both physically and mentally exhausting, I have absolutely no regrets about taking part in this project, except perhaps one; namely, that I didn't join the very dedicated team at Vision Aid Overseas sooner. I have now been converted and look forward to hopefully one day being selected to team-lead a group of newbies to their first overseas project experience." said Pauline adding, " I would also like to thank both Shaf and Shaf at Santro & Peche Opticians for their sponsorship towards my recent project in Ethiopia, and wish them every success in their World Sight Day Challenge 2010."
Vision Aid Overseas aims to transform access to quality eyecare in developing countries. Over 500 million people worldwide are unnecessarily visually impaired because they do not have glasses. This is due to the significant lack of eyecare services available in low and middle income countries.
November 3, 2010