"I call on Lions to be Knights of the Blind" - "Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much"
Helen Keller (1925)
Since Helen Keller spoke at the 1925 International Convention Lions Clubs have been carrying out Sight projects. To save the sight or to improve sight is one of the greatest gifts that we can give to our fellow human beings. All those who have suffered from cataracts will know the relief that comes after a successful operation - the world becomes clearer and more colourful.
How can Lions help? We can support World Sight Day and World Vision month, Spek Trek, Sight Savers, the Korle Bu project, Talking Newspapers and LEHP as well as helping any individuals known to clubs who have lost their sight.
From the LCI NEWSWIRE
MY VISIT TO CHICHESTER LIONS - WORLD SIGHT DAY 2016
October 8th was World Sight Day and I set off with PCC John Goodchild to visit Chichester Lions to,see what happens to ourbold specs that so many clubs in 105D collect. It was good to see that members from seven other 105D clubs were also visiting as well as many clubs from 105SE.
The first comment to make is that all the glasses that we collect in 105D on Spek Trek actually go to Midhurst Lions because Chichester cannot handle all the"specs" that are sent to them. We met up with Lions from Midhurst who assured us that they act in exactly the same way as Chichester Lions.
Chichester Lions operate in a part of the Appledrum Centre (which they helped to fund) and we were shown how they sort the specs. Boxes arrive from all over the country and they are tipped onto a table. Some are broken and are immediately thrown into the rubbish box. Glasses that can be reused are put into a box.
Reading glasses including the ones that you can buy for £1 are separated out into a other box. These are especially useful and caan make a tremendous difference to someone in the third world. Many are sent to Sri Lanka via doctors who are going there to carry out to hold sight clinics. Chichester Lions pay for a case of specs to be taken on the plane.
Childrens glasses are separated out for reuse as are uncut lenses.
Some cannot be used again but this does not mean that they are not valuable. Precious metals are used in some frames and those containing gold or titanium are sorted out for selling. Designer frsmes are also valuable and again these are put aside for selling. Sunglasses are also valuable and are sold at fetes to raise money.
Whilst we always think of glasses when we collect for Spektrek we can also send glass eyes, aids such as magnifying glasses and hearing aids.
Those that cannot be used are sent to a recycling centre where some of the materials can be reclaimed.
The money raised from selling on the specs is used for sight projects and clubs can seek help towards projects in their areas.
The Lions told us that they cannot use cases and cut lenses so please do not send them.
When the specs that can be reused are boxed up they are sent on to Medico France in LeHavre. One wall was lined with these boxes which were awaiting collection by Medico France.
Whilst not all the specs we collect cannot be used again, please do not stop collecting and encourage the public to continue to give us their old glasses. Chichester and Midhurst Lions will make the decision as to what can be done with them.
The white cane is a mobility tool symbolizing the ability of a blind or visually impaired person to live an independent life and fully participate in society. Promote the importance of the white cane during White Cane Week, May 11-17. Provide greater awareness by distributing the new white cane tags available from the Lions Store. Work with your local school administration to invite a person who is blind to visit the school and demonstrate the use of the white cane and its benefits. Or, plan a community event to convey your community's white cane laws to the public. Remember to report your White Cane activity in the MyLCI/Service Activity Report.
LATEST NEWS ON SPECTREK
The date for 2016 is April 17th.
Congratulations to Petersfield Lions on the latest SpecTrek held on April 19th 2015.
138,148 pairs of spectacles were collected. In previous years the figure has been around 125,000 so this was a very good result especially as some opticians are now operating their own schemes for using old specs.
The running total is now 2,823,150 so can we make it 3 million next year.
Of course, none of this would be possible if Clubs and individual Lions did not collect and store the used specs each year. Thank you to all who took part this year and if you didn't, why not consider doing so next year?
See the Petersfield Lions website for more information.
World Sight Day/Sharing the Vision Campaign
World Sight Day 2015
This was celebrated on Thursday October 8th.
This is the day when Lions Focus Attention on Preventing Blindness and Improving Sight . Each year World Sight Day is celebrated worldwide on the second Thursday of October.
Lions around the world will mark World Sight Day with a variety of activities during the entire month of October. Since 1998, Lions World Sight Day, held annually in October, has focused attention on eliminating preventable blindness and improving sight. On World Sight Day, Lions clubs around the world conduct special sight-related projects. More information can be found by Clicking here The last few years have seen Lions Clubs all over the Multiple District participate in World Sight Day/ weekend walks. Some Clubs have been on pub walks and other town or village walks. Many of these have brought local publicity for the Lions Club also in many cases a bringing together of the Lions Club with both local dignitaries and blind or partially persons, all taking part in the walk.
In 2015 Lions Awareness Week will be 5th - 11th October and what a good way to end the week with a sight- related day. Whilst World Sight day will be Thursday 8th October many Clubs prefer to get more people involved by having an event on Saturday 10th October or Sunday 11th October. When I was District Governor I took part in a blindfolded walk with members of Hart and Fleet Lions Clubs around the shopping centre in Fleet. I do hope that your Club will participate in the day or weekend and I will be very interested to receive any photographs or descriptions of what your Club has done, preferably by email.
Sharing the Vision
Our Immediate Past International president Joe Preston says "Lions have a history of preserving sight. We prevent young people from losing it, we help neighbors who have lost it, and we restore it when possible. I'm encouraging your club to schedule at least one vision-related service project this year, and there's no better time than during our Sharing the Vision Campaign in October. When you share the vision, you can earn special recognition in the Centennial Service Challenge, our international initiative to serve 100 million people. Get the resources you need to Share the Vision, and remember to report your projects through the online Service Activity Report to earn your Centennial recognition!" The resources can be found by Clicking Here
SPEK TREK - EYEGLASS RECYCLING PROJECT
Lions Clubs International encourage Lions to collect old and unwanted spectacles so that they can be recycled and sent to countries where they are desparately needed. Spectacle collection is one of the Centennial targets. The aim is to collect 1,000,000 throughout the MD. Please help us to reach that target,
In 105D this important event is run by Petersfield Lions Club and I thank them for allowing me to use information from their web site.
Spektrek 2015 took place on Sunday 19th April and what a successful day! See above for details.
"How it all began"
Spec Trek is an Annual event organized by Petersfield Club. The first Spectrek was in 1982. Each year the Club collects over 100,000 pairs of unwanted spectacles from Lions Clubs all over the area. These are then passed on to other Lions Clubs for sorting, grading and onwards transport to the third world. Over the years nearly 2.5 million pairs of specs have been collected. It's difficult to buy a pair of specs for less than £100 - you do the maths!
Like many good ideas Spectrek started with a chat over a beer. In the early 1980's Petersfield Lions Club had collected several thousand pairs of spectacles as part of Lions on going sight campaigns. The problem was that the central storage point was in Weymouth in Dorset. In conversation someone said "Oh, throw them in a wheel barrow and we'll push them there!" (and then went off to get another round in). But that is, indeed, what we did. That first Spectrek, over four days, was largely on foot with a couple of wheel barrows and a van full of specs. The rest , as they say, is history.
Today, we need four Transit style vans and a couple of support vehicles to collect specs from around 50 Lions Clubs spread over Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset. The Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands also contribute. These days we deliver our collection to our fellow Lions in Midhurst for onwards transport to Chichester Lions and France for dispatch to the Third World. In the Third World that unwanted pair of glasses can make the difference between supporting a family or starving. Our one day collection brings in over 100 thousand pairs of specs per year. The numbers show no sign of diminishing and we are well on the way to our three millionth pair.
Petersfield Lions are very grateful for the support that they have received locally over the years from businesses who have supplied at little or indeed no charge the very necessary transport. Also, the event could not take place without the wholehearted and good humoured help and hospitality of the Lions of the region.
Spectrek is a hard day out. Handling 100000 pairs of specs two times and driving over two hundred miles is no picnic. But it is extremely rewarding and the proof of the pudding is that it is a Club activity where every Lion turns out if they are able. "
Assistance with Funding of Sight Related Projects
As a result of their participation in collecting old specs Chichester Lions Club has a fund that can be called on by any Lions Club in the Multiple District (UK) to assist with a sight related activity. The fund has been built up by selling the metal reclaimed from broken and unsuitable frames of spectacles collected in the spectacle collections. All the spectacles collected on our annual Spectrek Day arrive at Chichester for initial sorting.
Over the last 5 years Chichester Lions have made donations in excess of £200,000 from funds generated by this project. In the year ending June 2013 over £16,500 was donated through other lions clubs.
The sorted spectacles are then sent to Medico France in Le Havre where they are further graded before being sent to third world countries.
The contact at Chichester Lions Club is Lion Sue Boucher who you can contact through their website www.chilions.org.uk.
LIONS AND SIGHT SAVERS
Lions and Sightsavers began working together in the 1970s. Lions Sight Savers is a registered charity which donates on average £80,000 a year to Sightsavers work in India. Clubs support the Comprehensive Eye Services (CES) Programme which provides integrated services of eye care, education and rehabilitation across various communities.
EYE CAMP PROGRAMME
This original programme grew out of the Lions Sight Savers Eye Camp programme, which started over 30 years ago. In that time a very large number of people have had their problems identified and their sight restored. Originally cataract operations were carried out in the back of Land Rovers or under canvas, but thankfully with time conditions have improved and now those requiring treatment are taken to hospitals (some of which were built with Campaign SightFirst funds) for improved treatment.
Unfortunately not all those arriving at an eye camp could be treated. Some were incurably blind, or might have a condition that a cataract operation would not help.
COMPREHENSIVE EYE SERVICES (CES)
The CES programme is able to offer something to everyone with a sight related problem. A blind person is directed to rehabilitation or training, a blind child will be helped to be integrated into school and all other eye problems are dealt with appropriately through health education, treatment or surgery.
A Lions Club's donation now buys a share in integrated services of eye care, education and rehabilitation. Reports are issued to Clubs that donate £250 or more. The report identifies which CES project their money has gone to and gives an update on the previous twelve months activities. The report includes a map identifying the area of the country where the Comprehensive Eye Services are being provided.
For more information about Lions and Sightsavers contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Sight Savers latest newsletter gives details of its work in Bangadesh from 2014 to 2017. The full letter can be found by Clicking Here. I include some extracts below:
Blindness is a serious public health problem in Bangladesh. Cataract continues to be the leading cause of blindness, being responsible for 80 per cent of cases. People living in poverty are particularly vulnerable to the impact of blindness, yet only a small proportion access treatment for the condition due to a lack of awareness about eye conditions, inadequate eye care in rural areas, and the high costs frequently involved.
Sightsavers District Eye Care programme aims to increase access to affordable, comprehensive eye care for those living in rural districts within three of the seven divisions of Bangladesh: Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur.
Over the next three years, our work in Bangladesh will form a key part of Sightsavers new Million Miracles fundraising appeal. This appeal aims to restore the sight of one million people, by raising £30 million globally. The majority of the sight-saving operations will be performed in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Please, please help Sight Savers to carry out this important work by making a contribution to them through our District Treasurer.
This is the Lions International Eye Centre that is being established by joint funding by Lions in MD105, LCIF and Moorfields Eye Hospital in Korle Bu, Ghana. It will not only provide eye care in an area that currently has very poor resources in this area but will be a teaching hospital for all of West Africa.
It is hoped the hospital building will be completed in Spring 2015. Fitting out will take eight weeks. Whilst the building and initial equipment funding are paid for, help is still needed to buy further equipment, sponsor trainees and fund poorer patients. Find the latest information on the project including the equipment still needed by Clicking Here
Many Lions Clubs arrange for their local Newspapers to be recorded so that those who are visually impaired can keep informed of what is happening in their area. It is possible to receive LION in this format. More information can be obtained from me.
Lions Eye Health Programme (LEHP)
The Lions Eye Health Programme, launched in 1998, is a community based awareness-raising project in partnership between the Lions Clubs of the British Isles and Ireland, the International Glaucoma Association, Diabetes UK and the Macular Disease Society. There are now about 500 Lions Clubs actively campaigning LEHP through their volunteer members.
Forms can be ordered by Clicking Here
Information about LEHP at the International level can be found by Clicking Here.