Vision Aid Overseas

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A West Suffolk Opticians has received a record response to an annual appeal for surplus spectacles.

President of Sudbury Rotary Club, Malcolm Offord (seen here with Mrs Helen Drage) recently made a special visit to Drage and Tozer Opticians of North Street, Sudbury to collect spectacles. Not one pair but hundreds!

Vision Aid

Rotary President Malcolm Offord and Helen Drage

Mr Offord expressed his thanks for the continuing support from the practice and paid tribute to the fantastic commitment and dedication that customers have shown to Vision Aid Overseas. A customer himself, Mr Offord was the person instrumental in bringing Vision Aid Overseas to the attention of owners Helen Drage and Sandra Tozer.

Since Vision Aid Overseas was founded in 1985 it has organised a nationwide recycling scheme for old or unwanted glasses. The Rotary Club has supported this initiative and transports thousands of pairs of glasses to VAO’s sorting centre at Crawley every year.

They need old glasses, for two reasons. Firstly, they use very high quality second-hand glasses – glasses that are brand new or nearly new – in their work in Burkina Faso and Ethiopia to reach patients. Secondly, recycling old glasses helps bring in vital income for Vision Aid Overseas. Glasses are made out of precious metals including gold, zinc and titanium. The funds raised from specialist recycling of these materials are used to help patients in the countries where VAO work.

Helen Drage, joint partner at Drage and Tozer Opticians said: “We are delighted to have been able to help the local Rotary Club with this project.

Obviously, this is an initiative very close to our hearts as it deals with access to eye care. 670 million people – 10% of the world’s population – are disabled or disadvantaged because they don’t have glasses. This is an astonishing figure – especially when it is so easy to take eye care and glasses for granted in the UK.

Vision Aid Overseas aims to transform eye care in developing countries by providing services that will enable everyone, even the poorest, to access glasses. Every year, their work enables children to attend school, mothers and father to provide for their families and gives thousands of people the ability to live life with dignity through the power of good sight.

We want to thank our patients for their generosity and thoughtfulness in donating their glasses to us in order to help Vision Aid Overseas in its precious work.”