Lions volunteer organization to provide workers without HMOs with old glasses donated by public
Boaz Fyler Published: 02.07.10, 07:44 / Israel Activism
The Lions Clubs International volunteer organization has launched a program aimed at securing glasses for migrant workers in Israel.
"For a while now my son has needed glasses," says G., a migrant worker. "But glasses are a very expensive thing." Her five-year old son was born in Israel, yet he is not eligible for an HMO and therefore relies on his mother's paycheck for luxuries such as spectacles.
Many migrant workers are forced to deal with health problems not covered by the flimsy insurance afforded them by their employers, and many unable to afford glasses must suffer a handicap that could otherwise be solved quite easily.
The Lions organization has made fighting blindness in third world countries one of its major goals, and is now cooperating with Doctors for Human Rights and Doron Optic stores to help workers from these countries see.
Dr. Ayman K. Agbaria, who heads Doctors for Human Rights, explained that "glasses are not first on the migrant workers' list of priorities and I am glad we can help them with this project".
The project includes a glasses donation campaign asking people to donate old pairs they no longer need. In addition, collection boxes for old spectacles have been placed at each of Doron Optic's 15 national stores.
The project will also provide workers with children with coupons for free eye exams at each of these stores, after which they will be allotted a free pair of glasses to suit their needs.
G. and her son were one of the first to make use of their new privilege. G., who needed glasses herself, said she could not believe her eyes. "It's hard to believe I could have gotten along without glasses until now," she added.
Ran Cohen, also of the Doctors for Human Rights organization, said ever since the police's immigration unit had launched its nationwide campaign more and more migrant workers had begun to fear taking their children for an eye exam.
Cohen said this resulted in a lack of ability to function in school. "Without this project, these children would have no chance at getting the glasses that can very much affect their way of life," he said.
Pnina Efrati, Lions' District Governor in Israel, said the project would bring a "major change in quality of life" for the workers.
She gave as an example a story of two children from Beersheba, whose parents did not have the means to provide them with glasses. "They are now flowering socially and conducting themselves better," she said. "They got back the gift of sight."
'Glasses not workers' first priority' (Photo: Adi Sasson)
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