Last Tuesday, after the long bank holiday weekend, I went to the Vision Aid Overseas head office in Sussex. I was actually there to donate some glasses. They were actually glasses I used to distribute for my friend in Hong Kong who was a frame designer. Those glasses really do take me back a few years, they were my first real experience of the eyewear world. That experience was how I came to start MyGlassesAndMe.
I totally forgot I had those glasses, and I came across them when I was having a clear out. I now have no use for them, neither does my friend, so I thought “why not donate them all and help people in need?”. As you may be aware Pala Sunglasses are also supporting Vision Aid Overseas by doing “one for one” for each pair sold. So it was Pala Sunglasses who put me in touch with Vision Aid Overseas, so THANK YOU Pala!
Although I didn’t have to drive there to donate, I wanted to check out the work they do and find out more about the charity.
My first impression? I was impressed by the amount of glasses that individuals and businesses donate. I was shown around by the supply manager who was explaining how all the glasses are used.
Specsavers and some independent opticians collect old glasses for them; old frames are recycled, especially if they are made with gold or silver because a lot of money can be generated by melting those metals. It is actually one of the main sources of income for the charity.
As well as old frames, they also take donations of new frames (which is what I donated). New frames are mainly donated by big chains. Specsavers and Boots are two of their biggest donators. New frames are packed into boxes along with lenses (also donated by various lens companies) and sent straight to their vision centres in different parts of Africa.
It isn’t just glasses and lenses that are being donated. Machinery to test eyes and to cut lenses are also donated so they can really kit out their vision centres to function as full opticians. Everything donated does not go to waste, and is being put to good use.
It is amazing to think in this day and age there are still people basically going blind because they cannot get their eyes tested. They are not even going blind due to disease; they simply need glasses to help them see. As a glasses wearer, imagine a world with no glasses and no contact lenses. How much would we struggle to do daily tasks? It is crazy but in Africa, many people face these issues everyday but Vision Aid Overseas is there to tackle the problem.
If you have any old frames (optical or sunglasses) and you have no use for them anymore, then please donate them to Vision Aid Overseas. You could be helping someone else to see the world again.
They are doing a great job, and you can help by simply donating something you no longer use, that is probably just sitting there collecting dust, so why not put them to good use. You can find out more about Vision Aid Overseas here and if you fancy treating yourself to some new sunglasses but also want to do your bit to help, check out Pala Sunglasses here.