After three months helping hundreds of vision impaired citizens of the impoverished nation of Nepal, an 11 person Australian team has returned home buoyed by the experience.
The team was part of the 2008 Rotary Australia Nepal eye camp, sponsored by Carl Zeiss Vision. Its three month sojourn assisted almost two and a half thousand people.
The team departed Australia on 30 October 2008 for Nepal where they were met by the Nepali support team, including a Nepali optometrist and optical assistants. They soon developed close relationships with Phatte Bal Eye Hospital and Geta Eye Hospital, with Rotary eye camps set up in far Western Nepal.
The team visited the flood affected districts of Banke, Bardia and Kailali where bonded labour (Kamaiyas) and child labour has been prevalent and still affects much of the community today. These districts have little or no health facilities, poor education and poor economic development. The team reports that it assisted 2,340 Nepali people by distributing 1,788 spectacles and referring 86 people for cataract surgery.
Carly Nicholls, optical dispenser and volunteer for Rotary Australia Nepal Eye Camps says: “We were able to assist so many Nepali people thanks, in part, to Carl Zeiss Vision’s generous support in Rotary. All who we assisted were so appreciative of their new spectacles”.
Tony Gray, Managing Director, Carl Zeiss Vision Australia and New Zealand said his company was very pleased to have been able to help assist so many Nepali people, who under normal circumstances would not be able to afford spectacles or cataract surgery.
“It is a cause that Carl Zeiss Vision is very proud to have been a part of and the Australian Rotary eye camps will once again be held in Nepal in 2009,” he says.