The team at Specsavers Ópticas in Santa Ponca has donated more than 500 pairs of glasses and sunglasses to a hospital supporting refugees in Algeria.
The glasses are being donated to the National Hospital in Rabuni, providing aid to refugees in camps 30 kilometres from Tindouf in Algeria. It will help adults and children living in the camps to improve their vision, protect their eyes from the sun and improve their quality of life by reducing the chances of vision loss and improving their opportunities to continue their studies.
Esperança Mas Alcover, one of the volunteers who travelled to Tindouf in the middle of the Sahara desert to deliver the donation, explains, “Due to the sun and how it reflects on the sand, there are many people with poor eyesight in the area.”
The donation of glasses came about thanks to one of the employees of Specsavers Ópticas Santa Ponça, Mariló Frasquet, who suggested they get involved with the project and who was responsible for logging the glasses to be donated, labelling them with the prescription and preparing them to be taken to Algeria.
The store director Andrés Román said he was delighted that his team was so committed to charitable causes such as this and happy to support it wherever possible. He also thanked volunteer Esperança Mas Alcover, for her hard work in taking the donated glasses and distributing them to the refugees.
Esperança travelled to the Sahara with four other volunteers to help the Saharawi people. She says, “As well as glasses we took 20kg of medicines which are very hard to come by in this area. We also delivered school supplies, sports clothes and warm clothes for babies, children and adults, along with foods that are expensive and difficult to get in the area.”
Rosa Alcover also travelled with the group, as part of her role in the Balearic Association of Friends of the Saharaui People (Asociación Balear de Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui). Their project Holidays in Peace (Vacances en Pau) allows children between 9 and 12 years old to travel to the Balearic Islands to enjoy the summer months in peace, away from the heat of the desert. During their stay, they also undergo a full medical check and can be treated for any conditions which are discovered. Part of the reason for their visit, as well as to deliver the donations, was to reconnect with children who had stayed in Mallorca in recent years and make sure they were happy and well cared for, according to Esperança.
Describing the living conditions in these refugee camps, Esperança says, “Unfortunately these people had to leave their homes and their land and are living in the middle of the desert. After 40 years and thanks to support from Algeria and the international community, they now have electricity and there is water delivered by truck several times a year, but resources are still limited, so all help is very welcome.”
She adds, “There are many programmes being run in the area to improve the refugees’ quality of life, healthcare and education including the creation of primary care and emergency facilities and education to prepare them for their future lives and improve their career prospects, but there is still work to be done and the community are very grateful for help.”
Visit www.saharaillesbalers.org to find out more about the Asociación Balear de Amigos del Pueblo Saharaui. Visit www.specsavers.es to learn more about Specsavers and find your nearest store to donate your unwanted glasses and help others.
- Specsavers is a partnership of almost 2,000 locally-run businesses throughout the UK, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand – all committed to delivering high quality, affordable optical and hearing care in the communities they serve.
- More than 36 million customers are registered with Specsavers and the partnership had a turnover of more than £2.2bn in 2016/17
- Specsavers Opticas supports several charities in Spain locally and nationally, including Lions Club, Red Cross and Banco de Alimentos.
- Specsavers Opticas has been in Spain since 2006 and currently has nine stores; Marbella and Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol, Santa Ponça Mallorca, Calpe, Javea, Benidorm, Guardamar del Segura, La Zenia and Torrevieja on the Costa Blanca.