Voluntary Work

Andy and Kate started raising funds for the National Institute for the Visually Impaired in the remote area of eastern Bhutan after they visited it ‘on a whim’ in 2008 as part of a motorcycling holiday.

Their first fundraising target of $10,000 was reached by the end of that year, largely through the auctioning of works donated by local artists at the ‘Eye for An Eye’ exhibition.  Lynnette Allen has been extraordinarily generous since that time with her donations of handmade cards which are sold through the office with all proceeds going to the project.

Because of the generosity of clients and friends, organising the exhibition was relatively easy, but organising to get Andy to Bhutan and then to the Institute to assess the students took much longer.

Meanwhile, Bhutanese ophthalmologist Dr Dechen Wangmo and ophthalmic assistant Abi Narayan visited Adelaide with the assistance of Sight for All and the Royal Society for the Blind and were able to spend some time with Andy learning how to assess and provide assistance to adults and children with very low vision.

Finally, Andy was able to visit the students in Bhutan with the assistance of Sight for All (accompanied by Dr Wangmo and Mr Narayan) during one of the their research visits in late October 2012.

In February 2013, our first shipment of 23 pairs of spectacles, 11 dome magnifiers, 6 hand held, self illuminated magnifiers and a set of trial lenses were shipped to Bhutan in readiness for the new school year.

Since then Andy has been part of Sight For All’s childhood blindness research programs in Laos and Myanmar (Burma).  Dr Garry Davis kindly carried a set of trial lenses to the eye hospital in Laos and we currently planning to send equipment to Myanmar following Andy’s visit there in February 2018.