Charity’s vision sees old spectacles recycled for foreign eye camps
We need your old spectacles! An initiative to recycle old or unwanted pairs of specs is helping people in countries as far afield as Africa and India. Belfast City Council is backing a Belfast Lions Club initiative to send old pairs of glasses to eye camps in developing countries and Eastern Europe where they are matched to the right patient.
Belfast Lions are co-operating with the charity Extern and social enterprise ArtsEkta on the project. The donated glasses will be shipped to a regional Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centre at Chichester in England, where they will be cleaned and prepared for distribution by Lions and other groups. Helping to launch the scheme was Bobby Duke, a Lions Club member for nearly fifty years and a Past District Governor of the group. He is a retired teacher from Finaghy.
The President of Belfast Lions Club Michael Fisher said the recycling scheme was a good example of how Lions could make a difference in their own communities and worldwide. “In most developing countries, an eye test can cost as much as one month’s wages and a single eye doctor may serve a community of hundreds of thousands of people”, he said. He also hoped the project would help to attract more volunteers to become involved with the work of the Lions, which started up originally in the city in 1959 through the late Bert Mason, a businessman who went on to serve as International President of the organisation.
The Chair of Belfast Council’s Health and Environmental Services Committee, Councillor Steven Corr, said: “This is a really great idea and I’m delighted the Council is involved in such a worthwhile project. We take a lot of things for granted here; people often have more than one pair of glasses and change them quite regularly so to be able to help others in developing countries have the gift of better vision, is really fantastic. I would like to extend my personal thanks to the Belfast Lions Club for taking on this initiative and hopefully through raising awareness, we can encourage people to recycle their old specs.”
To donate used glasses (including sunglasses and reading glasses), place them in the specially marked blue bins located in the Council’s four main recycling centres in the city. These are located at Ormeau (Park Road), Palmerston Road, Alexandra Park Avenue and Blackstaff Way. You can find out about recycling facilities in your area by visiting www.belfastcity.gov.uk/recycling.
Belfast Lions Club is looking for new members and meets on the first Wednesday of every month at 7:30pm at the Wellington Park Hotel, Malone Road. The next meeting is on Wednesday 4th September when a presentation will be made to one of the charities for which funds are raised, Diabetes UK (NI). Lions Clubs are a group of men and women who identify needs within the community and work together to fulfil those needs. They belong to the world’s largest service club organization with more than 1.3 million members in 45,000 clubs in over 200 countries. For more information about the project or the activities of Belfast Lions Club, contact Michael Fisher.