Season's Greetings, Malawi
At the moment the spectacles we collect are planned for Malawi in the South East of Africa.
** Just in case you were wondering .. Covid restrictions have put our normal spectacle
cleaning, packing and distribution systems on hold. So how many spectacles is our
Club President storing until we get back to normal operations?
At the last count it was 4,000 pairs. You got to admit, we're a dedicated bunch. **
In 1925 Helen Keller the inspirational deaf-blind campaigner challenged Lions to be
“Knights Of The Blind” in the crusade against vision darkness.
In the almost 100 years since then, Lions Clubs around the world have committed themselves to projects that helped prevent blindness, restore eyesight and / or benefit eyecare.
Lions also introduced the internationally recognised white cane.
Lions International has raised £240+ million to tackle preventable blindness and every year and collects almost 330,000 pairs of used glasses.
Each and every pair collected is checked and refurbished.
Spectacles too damaged to be useful have their precious metals stripped out, recycled and on-sold. Money from the sale of those precious metals helps support eye-related projects here in the U.K.
Our spectacles are distributed to clinics and eye camps across the African and Asian continents.
Malawi is our current focus country but this changes on a regular basis and depends on need.
And we’re doing our bit here at Shakespeare Lions.
Our Spectacles team has been collecting for some twelve years and collects around 1,600 pairs of spectacles in an average (pre-covid) month.
That’s about 60kg in a month!
So in one month we have been collecting more than your average toilet in weight and in three months we collect around one ‘Rudolf the red-nosed Reindeer’!
In an average year, we collect 720kg of spectacles–that’s five times heavier than an
adult Giant Panda, a bit more than an
adult Polar bear weighs and a little bit more than your friendly mature
Holstein cow (the black-and-white, spotted variety).
Or putting it in another way, every year we collect the weight equivalent of three average adult pigs and over three years we’d collect the equivalent in weight of your average adult black rhinoceros!
Now let’s talk about length.
An average pair of glasses is about 13cm long–or wide, depending on your point of view.
All 1,600 pairs of spectacles, laid end–end would be about 208 metres long.
Which is longer than St Paul’s Cathedral in London is high, almost exactly twice the length of a football pitch and more than twice the height of Big Ben!!