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All the specs you send us are sorted by a team of Lions and other volunteers in a small workshop at the Apuldram Centre. Visits can be arranged if you let us know in advance - perhaps when delivering spectacles to us.
Sorted spectacles are graded by Medico France in Le Havre.
We have shipped spectacles directly to known contacts undertaking eye clinics in Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Nigeria and Nepal.
We support volunteers from the ‘Unite for Sight’ charity with a supply of spectacles to take with them on missions to countries across the world.
Nothing is wasted - materials from spectacles that are unsuitable for recycling are used to raise funds for the project - and funds raised are used to support sight related research and charitable projects around the world. More information follows below.
Email received from Papua New Guinea:
Just to let you know how useful the glasses are here in PNG , and to thank you and Medico for all the work you did to make their safe arrival so successful.
The eye clinic is developing in leaps and bounds and it is quite exciting to see so many people benefiting from the spectacles.
We have now started school screening and have improved the vision for a lot of children.
Last year we did over 200 operations for cataract. There is a huge demand for surgery as this island had never had any eye care.
We are due to do another two week operating session in a month’s time, so there is a lot to organise.
The Fred Hollows Foundation, which I am now working with and developing a project proposal for extending eye services through out West New Britain, have been enormously supportive.
One of their sustainability projects is to supply low cost ready- made glasses, for which we make a small profit , and this enables us to buy more and supplement the cost of medications.
We are so grateful to you for kick starting this project and would like to thank Lions for all their hard work and encouragement.
This is an amazing country but with a desperately underfunded health service and eye care is not seen as a priority. The recipients of glasses have been thrilled to be able to read and study again.
PHOTOS FROM TAMALE
This is one of a series of albums that have been sent by Udaya Wanduragala. He is from Sri Lanka and has received from us in the past frames, lenses etc that he has taken out to Sri Lanka.
He obtains the prescriptions in advance from old peoples homes, orphanages, schools, etc., and then with our frames, lenses, and lenses that he is given by an American company he puts them together to take there and dispenses them. He often takes the lenses from our sorted specs and replaces them.
He is hoping to visit there again later in the year and take some more of our specs.
To date he has dispensed 600 pairs and as you can see from the first photo, this chap was very much in need!
Click here to view photographs from Balangoda, Sri Lanka.
Extract from email from William Moen who took 400 pairs of glasses on a mission to India with Unite for Sight:
My trip has been a wonderful experience, and one I am unlikely to forget. I was the only foreigner living with Indians in local hospital accommodation. The majority of my days consisted of getting up around five o’clock in the morning and driving to remote towns and villages in districts around my hospital. The weather was extremely hot and many of the journeys took 5 or so hours each way. Terrible roads and a rickety old bus did not help matters. Once at our destination, we screened patients for eye problems and prepared them for the operations they would have back at the hospital. My main jobs at these camps were to distribute glasses (which I had brought with me from England) to those with Myopia and Hyperopia, record a register of names for all the patients and assist doctors and nurses in vision tests and medicals (taking blood pressure and eye pressure amongst other things). I also observed the surgeries and assisted nurses with various jobs.
Extract from email from Lucinda on a mission to Ghana with Unite for Sight:
The last two weeks have been fairly hectic, first working alongside the Crystal Clinic team in Accra, and this week with the Christian Eye Clinic team who are primarily based in Tema just along the road. Last week we foolishly gave up one of our days off, in order to help the team screen some of the children at Osu Children's home in Central Accra. This was quite a mammoth task, there are 250 children at the home aged between 0 and 23 years and although we only saw around half that number we spent a lot of time and energy persuading the younger ones just to sit still! We also met the home supervisor who keeps the entire place up and running and ensures that each child has the support that he or she needs - no mean feat given the constraints on time and resources which she has to cope with.
Recycling of scrap material from broken and unsuitable spectacles yields funds which support the sorting operation and enable us to give financial support to eye related projects in the UK and overseas.
Since the project began we have generated over £740k from recycled materials and have donated over £525k to sight related charitable causes. We encourage Lions Clubs in the UK to nominate projects in their local areas in recognition of the fact that the project is a national effort. Since we began we have donated over £88k to projects proposed to us by other Lions Clubs.
However, there were always many thousands of spectacles that were unsuitable for any of these purposes and over the years these were sent to landfill so not only damaging the environment, but also incurring costs to the local council, money that could have been better spent on helping to restore sight.
Fortunately, we were contacted by Chris Stafford of RecycLine. This is a growing company which has stepped into the breach to prevent the need for this material to end up in landfill. The company has a background in recycling PVC windows, and uses the same technology to recycle eye glasses. The spectacles are loaded on to a conveyor belt, which pours them into a grinder. Plastic and metal fragments are then separated and sold on to manufacturers to make other products, including more spectacles.
Click the video icon to watch a slide show of satisfied customers