Benenden supports glasses for The Gambia initiative
11th November 2014
Benenden health and benenden hospital have joined forces with a UK charity supporting villagers in rural Gambia to collect second hand glasses – which will be sent to people overseas who cannot afford to buy them.
Donations of glasses (including reading glasses and sun glasses) are to be collected between now and 12th December, which will then be sent inside a shipping container to The Gambia at the beginning of next year. Glasses can be dropped off at various sites around York including the York Press offices on Walmgate and Nuffield Health York Hospital, as well as at various benenden approved hospitals around the UK and at benenden hospital in Kent in the main reception area.
Support by York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce for the project has also led to donation points being available at the Monks Cross shopping centre (in the information centre) and the York Science Park at the Innovation Centre reception on the University campus.
Hugh Bayley MP has also lent his support to the initiative as well as York City Football Club, who will be offering fans the opportunity to donate their glasses at their next home match on Saturday November 15th. York residents can also take their glasses into benenden’s offices on Holgate Park Drive.
Volunteers with the UK registered charity BACE, Building and Assisting Communities with Education, will then give the glasses to representatives from the National Eye Health Programme, who will distribute pairs to needy people in the most impoverished and rural parts of the country.
Tracy Barnett, chair of BACE, said: “Having worked in The Gambia for many years myself and other trustees and volunteers have found that many people go without glasses because they cannot afford to buy them. A pair of reading glasses can be the equivalent to several months salary for some.
“Most people have at least one pair of glasses stuffed at the back of a drawer, which they have either never worn or don’t wear any more. We would like to put these glasses to good use.
“Good quality sunglasses are needed too, in order to protect eyes from UV rays. We hope people will support this campaign so that we can work with the National Eye Health Programme in The Gambia to really make a difference.”
Benenden hospital’s director Jane Abbott said she was pleased to be backing the campaign.
She said: “We have an eye unit here at benenden hospital, so we are well aware of how poor vision can affect someone’s quality of life. We are very happy to support this charity campaign and hope that our staff and patients will donate, as well as members of the local community.”
BACE and benenden hospital are working with Sarjo Kanyi, Programme Manager with the National Eye Health Programme in The Gambia.
Mr Kanyi said: “As a programme we welcome genuine partners and philanthropists who have an interest in our programme and The Gambia at heart.”
Benenden hospital is also supporting the shipping costs and has donated old and redundant medical equipment which BACE will use in its new health clinic in a village called Bonsa. The charity also set up and runs a nursery school there along with a feeding programme, which aims to ensure that the school children have at least one nutritious meal a day. School equipment will go into the container too.
The National Eye Health Programme was established in 1986 by The Gambia Government following a national survey of blindness and eye diseases.
Read more about the initiative