Lions Clubs have been supporting the blind since 1925 when Mary Keller challenged Lions International to be Knights to the Blind.
Over the years this has developed substantially leading to a major campaign amongst Lions worldwide to raise in excess of $200m to work towards eradicating preventable blindness.
In 1980 Spalding Lions together with other Lions Clubs started supporting Water Aid with financial donations. This allows us to leverage our donation work with local partners throughout the world with a Comprehensive Eye Service for the young and the old. Under this programme treatment is provided for sight threatening conditions, correct refractive errors: protect those vulnerable to blindness and provide schooling or community programmes for those irreversibly Blind. The British Government will match our donation this year giving even more value for money.
Dirty water is a major cause of blindness so we also support the water industry charity Water Aid. Communities in parts of the world that used to travel long distances, often 2/3 hours in search of water now have so much more time with a safe water source only a few meters from their houses. Women who were subject to attacks from animals when fetching dirty river water, can now turn on a tap and watch clean water collect in their containers.
In late 2002 Spalding Lions decided that they would also help those with sight problems who could not afford spectacles – some in the third world would have to work for 6 months and commit all their income to buy spectacles. We in the west have regular tests and throw glasses away. We set up local collection points and in the last 10 years have collected in excess of 42000 pairs of spectacles for recycling. If you can remember the Tsunami disaster of a few years ago when people lost everything – that is where some of the glasses ended up.
Sight problems do not only affect people in the third world. It can occur to you or me. For instance Glaucoma is a leading cause of preventable blindness in the UK today. We have twice recently linked up with Silver Star to carry out testing in the Spalding area.
If you wish to know more about our involvement then please contact us. In the meantime we encourage you to have regular sight tests.
SIGHT LOSS IS PREVENTABLE – IT’S YOUR CHOICE.
Written by David Watts