Leading Eye Care Charity Calls on Supporters to Take Extreme Poverty Challenge | The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ

Leading Eye Care Charity Calls on Supporters to Take Extreme Poverty Challenge

Live Below the Line for The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ

Live Below the Line for The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ today announced that it will play an active role in Live Below the Line 2013, and called on the NZ public to take up the challenge and help end avoidable blindness.

The Foundation has joined with 21 other anti-poverty organisations to take part in the NZ version of the Live Below the Line campaign. The initiative challenges New Zealanders to live on $2.25 a day for five days from 23-27 September. The symbolic act of empathy is part of an international movement to increase engagement through direct experience of the challenges and hardships of extreme poverty. Over 1.2 billion people around the world live in extreme poverty, on the equivalent of $2.25 per day.

Andrew Bell, Executive Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ, said that restoring sight in the developing world is one of the immediate ways to help people out of extreme poverty.  

“We know that about 39 million people globally are blind, and 90% of them live in developing countries, similar to many of the places where The Foundation works,” said Bell. “So it’s clear that blindness and poverty are inextricably linked.”

Bell explained that poverty can be even more difficult for people who suffer from blindness. He cited the reduced earning capacity and the limited services for people with disabilities in the developing world.  

According to Bell, not only is poverty a result of blindness, but in some cases the lack of eye care systems can play a role in causing blindness.  

“In many of the areas we work, there aren’t systems in place to deal with simple eye problems,” he said. “What is a relatively simple issue to fix can become a matter of life and death just because there are no specialists to deal with the problem.”

The Foundation restores sight to the needlessly blind and trains local eye doctors and nurses to provide eye care services in their own communities, across the Pacific, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste. Its work directly alleviates poverty by giving individuals back their independence, and reducing the socio-economic burden placed on families and communities.

“Four out of five people who are blind in the developing world don’t need to be,” said Bell. “For some of them suffering with cataracts, a short 20 minute surgery can give them back their sight and their lives. We have a solution, and we’re asking for the public’s help to deliver it to those who need it most.”

All  members of the public can take part in the Live Below The Line challenge for The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ. Participants are encouraged to get support and sponsorship from their friends, families and social networks. Funds raised by the Live Below the Line challenge will go towards restoring sight in the developing world.  

Because of The Foundation’s relentless cost efficiency, the price of the surgical pack to perform a cataract operation is just $25. So a donation of just $25 can restore someone’s sight.

Sign up to take part in the challenge, or visit hollows.org.nz/lbl for more information.

What we can do

Help keep Fred’s dream alive.

4 out of 5 people who are blind in the developing world don't need to be. Routine treatment costing as little as $25 can restore sight and hope.


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