DON’T throw away those old glasses – you could be helping someone regain their sight in the Philippines.
Freddy Parkinson of charity organisation Fermanagh Clothing Aid Helping Hands will take them frames, lenses and all.
“We shipped 100,000 items of clothes and shoes out in the last two years, but glasses are one of the most valuable things to give to the poor in the Philippines,” he explained.
“We send out the glasses with the lenses still in them. The people will go through them and see which ones they can see best out of.
“Don’t throw out your second-hand glasses if you are buying new ones. We’ll take them.”
A stonemason by trade, Mr Parkinson from Brookeborough has been providing aid supplies to poor countries for the last 18 years, and the Philippines is the latest place to benefit from his important humanitarian work.
“I’ve been sending aid to the poor areas and slums of the Philippines for the past few years,” he explained.
“Getting glasses in the Philippines is a big problem. The average Filipino would be lucky if they earned £90-£100 a month. To go to an optician and get glasses costs about £60-£70. They just can’t afford it.
“Failing sight affects so many, in so many ways. These glasses not only help people’s sight but they ease migraines as well.
“We put an appeal out on our Facebook group and other social media. Rather than old glasses being dumped, they’re being put to good use.”
His latest aid supply was recently sent to the remote Babuyan Islands, 100km off the coast of the Philippines, and arrived by fishing boat as there was no other way of getting it there.
The supplies included 170 pairs of glasses rounded up from all over Fermanagh.
“People sift through the glasses and try them on. Many find ones with prescriptions that suit them and it’s hugely beneficial to them,” Mr Parkinson said.
“There’s always a big demand for glasses and adult rubber wellington boots, as they protect their legs when they are out working in the rice fields and also from snakes when they are working in the forest – the snake’s fangs can’t go through the rubber wellingtons.
“Hand sewing machines are also a great help as there is no electricity in these areas and they can make things to sell on them and make some money for their families.”
You can donate by calling Freddie on 07747510629 or visiting the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/429494941807079
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