Specsavers Castletroy staff return from eye-opening trip to Kolkata
Specsavers Castletroy store director, Sinead Clohessy and optician, Claire Geaney have helped to support 1,500 patients during a charity mission in the Indian city of Kolkata.
Volunteering in Kolkata
Recently, a Specsavers team of 10 visited the destitute city of Kolkata alongside charity partner The Hope Foundation where they spent a week providing vital eye care in the street and slum communities. The team also visited The Hope Hospital, which Specsavers Castletroy supports.
During the week-long volunteering trip, Sinead and Claire, alongside their Specsavers colleagues, saw 1,500 patients and dispensed more than 1,200 glasses, benefiting people across slums, schools, hospitals and rural villages in the region. Many of those who were treated by Specsavers staff had never had access to basic eye care before.
Following her second visit to Kolkata with The Hope Foundation, Sinead Clohessy comments: ‘I am so grateful to have had the privilege of visiting Kolkata with The Hope Foundation and Specsavers. The poverty we witnessed while working in the city is remarkable and even though it was my second visit, it was still shocking to witness the destitute living conditions first hand. To be able to give those with so little the ability to see is a remarkable task to undertake, and it was so heart-warming to meet the thousands of patients we treated. I’d like to take a moment to thank all of those who have helped make this unforgettable journey possible – you have all contributed to giving those in need the gift of sight.’
Gift of Sight
At the end of their week-long volunteering trip, Sinead and Claire presented a cheque of €100,000 to founder of The Hope Foundation, Maureen Forrest. Having raised €75,000 for The Hope Foundation in 2018, Specsavers surpassed this target in 2019. All these funds will go to the Hope Foundation to support the running of the eye clinic in The Hope Hospital Kolkata. The money will also be used to purchase much-needed, high-quality optical equipment for the care for the underprivileged people of Kolkata.
Speaking of her first visit to Kolkata, optician, Claire Geaney continues: ‘Witnessing the poverty in Kolkata made me realise how we all can be guilty of taking healthcare and technology that is so easily accessible for us here in Ireland for granted. At Specsavers, we are so proud to be able to provide our customers with access to the latest optical technology such as the recent introduction of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scanners which can help to detect glaucoma up to four years in advance. Specsavers will continue to raise vital funds for The Hope Foundation and continue aiding their mission to combat the dire living conditions in the poverty-stricken city of Kolkata.’
The Hope Foundation
The Hope Foundation Ireland is a registered Irish charity working with street and slum children in Kolkata. The charity works to free children and poor families from lives of pain, abuse, poverty and darkness and seeks to improve their lives by providing access to healthcare and nutrition, education, drug rehabilitation and life skills and training. With the help of Specsavers and The Hope Foundation, improved eye care will be made available to the children living in slums and hospitals in Kolkata.
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