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Fred Hollows wants Kiwis to understand cataract blindness

6th September 2012

Fred Hollows Foundation wants Kiwis to experience cataract blindness

The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ has released a new campaign today that allows Kiwis to experience what it’s like to be cataract blind; seeingagain.org.nz tells the story of one man’s emotional journey back to sight in Samoa.

Tauasa Malo, who lives on Savai’i, received sight-restoring cataract surgery in April this year from a Fred Hollows Foundation surgical outreach team. A father of 11, he had been almost completely blind for three years.

“There was no money to pay for surgery and I am thankful to God that the team came to restore my sight,” he told The Foundation earlier this year.

This September marks 20 years since Kiwi eye surgeon and humanitarian Fred Hollows established The Fred Hollows Foundation to carry on his sight-restoring work after he passed away.

Fred had a vision of a world where no one is needlessly blind and dedicated his life to restoring sight and training eye doctors in developing countries. Today, Fred’s Foundation is still working tirelessly to make his vision a reality. In the past five years alone, The Foundation and its partners have carried out nearly a million sight-restoring operations and treatments around the world – approximately one every 2.6 minutes.

To celebrate 20 years of restoring sight, The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ is running a nationwide campaign encouraging New Zealanders to support Fred’s work so it can live on for another 20 years.

“The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ works to end avoidable blindness in the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste where 4 out of 5 people who are blind don’t need to be,” says Andrew Bell, Executive Director of The Fred Hollows Foundation NZ. “We train local eye health workers to restore sight in their own communities, and every year our surgical outreach teams restore sight to thousands of people in need.”

“We are extremely grateful to the thousands of New Zealanders who have supported our work over the last 20 years, but there is still so much work to be done,” he continued. “We want as many people as possible to visit seeingagain.org.nz to see for themselves what it’s like to be cataract blind. We hope they will share the experience with their friends, family and colleagues and help us keep Fred’s dream alive.”

Over the next two weeks a 30 second version of Tauasa’s story will be running on TV3 and FOUR as well as in selected Val Morgan Cinemas. Tauasa will also be featured in bus shelter ads up and down the country.

The Fred Hollows Foundation would like to thank the following people for making the campaign possible:

Affinity ID
Flying Fish
Liquid Studios
MediaWorks
Val Morgan
Adshel

To watch the video visit www.seeingagain.org.nz

About The Fred Hollows Foundation

The Fred Hollows Foundation carries on the work of a very special New Zealander, the late Professor Fred Hollows (1929-1993). Fred was an internationally acclaimed eye surgeon and social justice activist who championed the right of all people to high quality and affordable eye care. The Fred Hollows Foundation has a vision of a world where no one is needlessly blind and works in more than 30 developing countries around the world. In the last five years alone, The Foundation has restored the sight of close to one million people; in many cases all it took was a simple 20 minute operation costing as little as $25.

The Fred Hollows Foundation in NZ works in the Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste where 4 out of 5 people who are blind don’t need to be. The Foundation is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. To find out more visit www.hollows.org.nz

ENDS

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