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“Optometrist Ruth Perrott of VisionCare Optometry will soon be flying off to Malawi in support of the York based Charity, Madalitso.

Ruth states “Malawi is one of the poorest countries in Africa with 80% of the population still living in villages which have no piped water, no effective sanitation and no electricity. Subsistence farming is the main activity and the maize crop, which is the staple source of food is very dependent on changing weather patterns. One of the key projects which Madalitso supports in Malawi is village literacy. Here groups are established to encourage reading, especially among women who are not guaranteed a formal education”.

However to start reading, you also need to be able to focus on the page, which is where Ruth’s work starts.

Ruth collects used spectacles from across many sites in York, whether it be at her business in Acomb, or via the many voluntary groups such as Lions which collect on her behalf. Once collected, the spectacles are sorted, washed, measured, adjusted and labelled by members of the Rotary Club of York Ainsty before being placed into a library of spectacles prior to shipment. Once in country, Ruth and her fellow Optometrist Sarah Dineen check the vision of each of the people they see and then prescribe spectacles from the library. Statistics from previous visits ensure that almost all the spectacles are used. Interestingly, many of the people benefiting from the literacy project then go on to develop their own small businesses and use the micro-loans also provided by Madalitso.

So, if you are interested in recycling, world health matters, literacy and encouraging people to help themselves, let Ruth have your old spectacles and donate to www.madalitso.org to help continue this work.”