Four years after he was diagnosed with cancer, and knowing he didn’t have much longer to live, Fred and Gabi Hollows were determined to find a way to continue his work.
They started The Foundation with a group of friends and supporters who wanted to keep his dream alive. They promised to keep fighting for a world where everyone, rich or poor, can access high quality and affordable eye care. Today Fred’s vision is our mission: a world where no one is needlessly blind.
"Fred died less than one year later. It was a terribly sad time, but brightened by the knowledge that through The Fred Hollows Foundation his work would carry on."
– GABI HOLLOWS
In 1993, The Fred Hollows Foundation opened an office in New Zealand. In the early days we raised money to support the intraocular lens laboratories in Eritrea and Nepal.
Since 2002 we’ve been restoring sight, training eye health workers, and building clinics in the Pacific Islands and Papua New Guinea, where four out of five people who are blind don’t need to be.
We focus on preventable and treatable diseases such as cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. We train local doctors, nurses and health care workers and give them the technology they need to recognise, diagnose, refer, and treat eye problems in their communities. We build new clinics and come up with innovative ways to reach people in need, like our mobile eye clinic in Fiji. We undertake research to improve our understanding of avoidable blindness, and use our findings to bring about much-needed change.
We’re overseen by our Trust Board and Executive Director Andrew Bell leads day-to-day operations. But our team of dedicated and passionate eye care professionals in the Pacific are the real heroes. Following years of training at the Pacific Eye Institute in Fiji, they use their time and energy to restore sight in their own communities. Our end goal is to give them the reins and put ourselves out a job.
We’re independent, not-for-profit, politically unaligned and secular.
Fred was the type of man who knew exactly what he wanted, then went about getting it.
Being the man he was, he spent his final years planning to establish factories in Eritrea and Nepal and develop low cost lenses in these two countries that he cared deeply about. Months before his death, he also flew to Vietnam to keep a promise to train ophthalmologists in modern eye surgery techniques so that local people would be empowered to help their own communities.
We’re working just as tirelessly as Fred did to end avoidable blindness — by working in the Pacific to fight injustice, build local capacity, empowering the countries where we work, and staying true to our values. He had a big dream and it’s a dream that lives on in the work of The Foundation.
We know how to treat children who are needlessly blind from cataract and to get them back to school. We know how to prevent people with diabetes going irreversibly blind because they can’t access quality eye care. We know how to help, but there’s a lot of work still to be done throughout the Pacific. Eliminating avoidable blindness can be achieved — with the help of our partners and, most importantly, you, our invaluable supporters.
Thank you for helping Fred’s work live on. We really couldn’t do it without you.
The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ is incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957 and is approved as a legal charity under the following revenue acts: Section CB 4(1) C, Income Tax Act 1994 and Section 73(1) Estate and Gift Duties Act 1968.
The Foundation was registered with the Charities Commission as a charitable entity under the Charities Act 2005 on 1 May 2008. Our registration number is: CC23722.
The cost of restoring sight differs from country to country due to a number of varying factors. In some countries, we can restore sight for as little as $25.
This $25 covers the cost of the vital components of cataract surgery including the intraocular lens (IOL) and other consumables such as bandages, local anaesthetic and medications. This $25 does not incorporate the costs of the clinics, equipment or medical training of the doctors and nurses.
Medical treatment in developed countries like New Zealand is more expensive because it uses different techniques with more advanced and costly equipment. Therefore it’s impossible to compare with developing countries. In the developing world, a manual and more cost-effective technique is used that doesn’t require the expensive technology but achieves the same result.
Another way of looking at it is that in some of the countries where we work, people may be living on only a few dollars a day. The $25 it costs for an operation as a percentage of their yearly income can be quite similar to the approximately $3,500 it costs in New Zealand, where the average yearly income is around $50,000.
We appreciate your request to visit our programmes in the Pacific, but unfortunately we can’t allow visitors in our clinics. This is to avoid disruption to our eye care services and to provide privacy and respect to the patients accessing eye care.