LOCAL NEWS PONSONBY U3A - NOVEMBER MEETING GUEST SPEAKER AT THE NOVEMBER MEETING WAS GILLIAN MOORE FROM the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ. First she spoke of Kiwi hero Fred Hollows, a strong advocate for social justice, who realised the only way to reduce the cost of expensive US manufactured intra-ocular lenses was to set up his own factory. Fred Hollow’s goal: ‘A world where no one is needlessly blind’. She told how the Foundation was set up in 1992 with the primary goal of fundraising for building two intra-ocular lens factories to manufacture low-cost lenses – one in Eritrea and one in Nepal. These factories were commissioned in 1994 and 1996 respectively, and have to date manufactured over four million lenses which are distributed throughout the developing world. In 2002 the Fred Hollows Foundation NZ commenced the avoidable blindness programme in the Pacific, and today the cornerstone of their work is training. The main training centre is the The Pacific Eye Institute in Suva. Under the leadership and guidance of Director, Dr John Szetu, 11 doctors and 102 nurses have been trained. After their training doctors and nurses return to their own communities to perform the necessary surgeries to restore sight. During training, doctors will perform around 400 cataract surgeries and go on to perform thousands more during their career. “It’s a miracle when you restore the gift of sight and its colours to a person. Every patient’s reaction is different; some laugh, some cry and some just want to hug you.” Dr John Szetu of Fiji. This year the Foundation’s fundraising goal has focused on the construction of a new building to house the Pacific Eye Institute in Suva, Fiji. This will be a world class purpose built facility which will have two operating theatres, an optical lab, a library and will increase the number of patients who can be seen, by at least 50%. It will also increase the number of doctors and nurses who can be trained. The Foundation is very proud of its achievement which sees 87% of money raised go to its programme work in the Pacific and is grateful to all supporters of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ. Gillian’s talk was enhanced by moving stories of people and places and supported by excellent recently taken photographs. It was sobering to hear statistics of nearly forty million blind people globally, 90% of whom live in developing countries and that 75% of blindness is treatable or preventable. In the Pacific area 70% of avoidable blindness is due to cataracts.
ANY PAGE IN PONSONBY NEWS IS A GOOD PLACE TO BE SEEN
Before the visiting speaker, Ponsonby U3A Secretary, Alex Lanning presented an overview of a recent feedback survey of members, conducted at the time of the AGM. 31 responses were received from a membership of 68. There are 11 active study or activity groups and a number of suggestions were made for new groups. Meetings are held in the upstairs room in the Leys Institute on the second Friday of the month at 9.45am and new members are most welcome. The ages of Ponsonby U3A members are from the fifties to the nineties. The last meeting for the year will be held on Friday. 10 December and U3A member Lois Denbury, who trained and worked as a florist in London for 24 years will be demonstrating how to make Christmas arrangements with flowers and foliage from our own gardens. This will be followed by a shared festive morning tea. (NOELINE CREIGHTON) PN
The World Belongs to the Dissatisfied
DEADLINE – 20TH OF THE MONTH December 2010 PONSONBY NEWS+
Christmas issue - covering December and January - news/views and all that is happening in and around Ponsonby