The pictures below are from an “Eyeglass Cleaning Party” held May 26, 2012 by the Sedona Oak Creek Canyon Lions Club and Students and faculty from Verde Valley School. The Sedona Oak Creek Canyon Lions has partnered with the Verde Valley School to hold an Eye Clinic June 9th 2012 at the Chirazulu District Hospital, outside of Blantyre, Malawi. The country of Malawi is located in the heart of Africa and has been declared by the United Nations as one of the poorest countries on the planet. Average annual income US dollars is $150.00. We cleaned over 2500 pairs of glasses collected by the Sedona Oak Creek Canyon Lions Club in the Sedona area over the last year. About 500 pairs were read and labeled with their prescription and packaged ready for distribution by HERO (Humanitarian Efforts Reaching Out) to Copan Honduras in June 2012
For the last 15 years my wife and I have been supporting a family in Malawi. We have built with the help of friends, a home, put children through school, provided money for seed and fertilizer and provided general financial support.
I became aware that the Verde Valley School had been going to Malawi for several years. In 2005, The Verde Valley Scholl created The Millennium Development Goals Program to align the school with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. For the past five years, VVS has been focusing much of its MDG work on Kamangilira village in Malawi. This year they will be sending 10 students and faculty to Malawi. They will be volunteering in Blantyre at the Open Arms Orphanage, participating in the Lions Eye Clinic, and spending 8 days working in the Kamangilira village. For the complete story on the Verde Valley School Millennium Development Goals Program.
I met Graham Frey the Headmaster at Verde Valley School 8 years ago when he was working in another life, for the real estate company that bought out the real estate company owned by myself and a couple of partners. I did not realize that Graham had become the Headmaster at Verde Valley School until several months ago we found each other in a coffee shop in the Village of Oak Creek. I met Graham and Caroline Diehl, the Millennium Development Goals Program Director for lunch and the idea for the eyeglass clinic in Malawi was conceived.
Through the internet I was able to get in touch with Dr Khumba Kalua. Dr. Kalua is the director at the Blantyre Institute for Community Ophthalmology in Blantyre Malawi. Dr Kalua is a fellow Lions Club member and the institute is a Lions Sight First Clinic. For more information on the Blantyre Institute for Community Ophthalmology.
That brings us to today:
Dr Kalua got on board and agreed to do the eye clinic. Dr Kalua felt that his crew, with the help of the Verde Valley students would be able to see about 200 children for the clinic. Through the efforts of Sedona Oak Creek Lions Club member Dr. Serge Wright with a donation through Mr. Bob Dill, Laboratory Manager at Ziess in Tampa Bay Florida we are sending 200 pair of glasses with prescriptions specified by Dr. Kalua. In addition 24 pairs were created to give the gift of sight to 24 children that are otherwise blind. Stay tuned for the wrap up with pictures from the eye clinic in Malawi