Lions in Gilles Plains have brought the Lions Recycle for Sight Project to Papua New Guinea (PNG), helping small communities see and read better for the first time.
As part of the project, members of the Gilles Plains Lions Club have been collecting used reading glasses and sending them to Renee Mongagi, a Lion in PNG.
Renee, along with her children, travel many kilometres to distribute these to people in the community, often on foot as there are no bus or train services, and the roads are harsh.
As they make their way through the townships, Renee has the public try on glasses until they find the ones that suit them.
Most of the time, Renee also takes food to give to those who need it (sometimes security for Renee is required).
“I am so proud of the work Renee does to help those less fortunate,” says Gilles Plains Lions Club President, Lance Crook.
Lance shares a special connection to PNG, having spent time there in 2011 to help with his mental health after falling off a roof and ending up on a disability pension.
It was during this time that Lance met Lion Renee, who lives in the Northern Province town of Popondetta.
“Renee was in the village I visited, where after many years I was accepted as a white chief of Papua New Guinea, a very honoured position,” says Lance.
“I returned in 2015, taking 54 solar lights into the village.
That enabled 54 families and around 160 children to do their homework with light, as this village has no running water or electricity.”
It was on Lance’s next visit, that he took some recycled reading glasses to the village.
“Everyone was amazed to be able to see and read the bible,” he says.
This was a turning point to officially bring the Lions Recycle for Sight Project to PNG with Lance’s club routinely collecting and sending boxes of glasses to Renee.
Lions Recycle for Sight Australia is an initiative of Lions Clubs International, recycling used glasses for re-use in remote and impoverished communities.
The collected glasses are cleaned and prepared for distribution locally, to places where eye care is often unaffordable and inaccessible.
Do you have a pair of unused glasses sitting around? Click here to find out how you can donate them to this life-changing project.