PHILIPSBURG – Thursday, October 13, was World Sight Day and Lions Clubs all over the world are geared towards taking on special activities relating to Sight Awareness.
World Sight Day is observed annually on the second Thursday of October and is a global event meant to draw attention to blindness and vision impairment. It was originally initiated by the SightFirstCampaign of Lions Club International Foundation in 2000. It has since been integrated into VISION 2020 and is coordinated by International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) in cooperation with the World Health Organization.
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) was established in 1975 as a coordinating, umbrella organization to lead international efforts in blindness prevention activities. Its first major achievement was to promote the establishment of a WHO program for prevention of blindness, with which it has remained strongly linked, and which is now embodied in the global initiative, VISION 2020: The Right to Sight.
The theme for World Sight Day 2016 is “Stronger Together.”
Lions all over the world continue to respond to the challenge put out to them in 1925 by Helen Keller to become “Knights of the Blind,” This year’s theme “Stronger Together” is an inspiration for Lions throughout the world to join together to continue fighting River Blindness in Africa, to continue to open Eye-Glass Recycling Centers where used eye-glasses are refurbished to be sent to third world countries for those who cannot afford proper eye care and eyeglasses can be given a pair of eyeglasses who need assistance.
The challenge continues as Lion’s ophthalmologists all over the world travel to perform free cataract operations and provide eye-care to those in need.
For the past 45 years the St. Maarten Lions Club has dedicated much to eye-care on St. Maarten. Locally many have profited from the Lions eye-care program by receiving eye-glasses and free public eye screening programs.
The St. Maarten Lions are still very proud of their eye screening project of February 2001 when Canadian Vision Care of Canada came to St. Maarten and through the Lions Club the eyes of some 3,500 children of all elementary schools were tested while about 350 eye-glasses were donated to those needing one.
This year the St. Maarten Lions Club launched their signature project themed: “EYES for a BRIGHTER FUTURE 2016-2017.” Through this project the Lions are bringing awareness to the community of St. Maarten on how to save their vision, and take better care of their eyes but also to offer free eye-screening and eye-glasses when urgently needed.
On a monthly basis since September of this year, St. Maarten Lions Club has been publishing special articles in the local newspapers geared towards Sight Prevention, giving tips on how to preserve good vision, etc. These monthly articles will be published throughout the Lions year until June 2017, in the third week of the month in The Daily Herald and The Today newspapers.
The club will also be soon launching its monthly TV and radio show with eye-care specialists in which again awareness on better eye-care will be discussed. Additional information concerning this TV and radio show will be sent out this month. The St. Maarten Lions Club neighborhood signs and electronic sign boards and radio commercials, which will soon also carry short slogans (tips) for better eye-care for the community. This will last also until June 2017.
With “Eyes for a Brighter Future” Lions and Leos of St. Maarten will continue to be
“KNIGHTS OF THE BLIND” and again urges the general public to take care of their eyes.