Volunteer Aid Optometry
Strachan EyecarePlus is pleased to support ‘Equal Health’, an Australian based charity that provides Optical, Medical, Dental and other Allied Health services to poor people living in remote parts of third world countries who would otherwise have no access to such services.
We have a collection box for ‘old’ glasses at each practice. These pre-loved glasses are used in overseas aid programs, so bring in any old glasses gathering dust in a drawer at home!
These programs provide eye care, including free glasses, to underprivileged people in remote areas of rural India where access to routine health services is very limited. Sue has seen first hand on her trips the incredible difference a pair of glasses can make to the lives of people who would otherwise be functionally “blind”.
Several of our staff have accompanied Sue on these trips including current Office Manager Stephanie, past Receptionist and now Optometrist Michelle, Sue and Greg’s Oncology Nurse daughter Lacey, and their son Optometrist Daniel.They have all found it a to be an incredibly rewarding and humbling experience.
Equal Health is a secular non-government organisation based in Perth. It was established in 1996 by Paul Clarke, an optical dispenser, initially just as a spectacle aid program, but the organisation expanded rapidly and health aid is now provided in the Optical, Dental, General Medical, Ophthalmology and Allied Health disciplines.
During each annual camp Equal Health delivers around 6,000 pairs of new pre-made glasses at no cost to people in rural India.
The glasses used in the program are manufactured at Perth’s Casuarina prison by long-serving inmates who have been trained in Optical Dispensing by volunteers from within the optical profession.
New spectacle frames are donated each year from retail and wholesale Optical companies around Australia.
Everyone seems to benefit from this partnership; Equal Health would otherwise never be able to afford to purchase the frames or pay the cost of having the lenses fitted, the prisoners feel good about contributing to a worthy cause, and the recipients of the glasses are over the moon with their new eyewear!
Equal Health is run entirely by volunteers both here in Australia and with our SEVAI (Society for Village Education and Improvement) partners in India – every dollar donated goes directly to people in need. And of course with the horrific COVID 19 situation currently unfolding in India, the need for help is enormous – Equal Health and SEVAI are supplying food parcels as well as medical support to the many suffering people.
OTHER VOLUNTEER OPTOMETRY AID GROUPS
Sue has also been to East Timor with the International Centre for Eyecare Education (ICEE – now know as the Brien Holden Vision Institute) and to Papua New Guinea with the YWAM Medical Ship, and she has also travelled to Laos with Global Hand.
Each of these camps has been immensely rewarding, with many of the people receiving their first ever pair of glasses – a life-changing experience for some.