Lions Recycle for Sight Australia Inc.
Started 12 years ago in Queensland and generally has grown to receiving 15,000 pair of used spectacles each week- 650,000 pair each year from all over Australia.
With the current setup, the programme has been able to refurbish 90% of spectacles received and recycled around 5% of the remainder through metal recyclers (and gaining some income). The balance, generally plastic framed non prescription spectacles, have been unsuitable for the programme.
99.99% of used spectacles (including sunglasses, some hearing aids and new unused contact lens) come through our PO Box in Clontarf into 2 or 3 large APO metal containers ready for collection by our utility on Wednesday and Friday mornings. The utility is generally loaded to three quarters up the rear window, taken to our Redcliffe Depot and processed through a number of steps.
How It Happens?
Boxes from Lions Clubs in Lions Christmas Cake boxes are noted in our records (for future confirmation to the sender) and placed ready to be sorted into boxes of prescription, bifocal, sunglasses etc. (hearing aids, unused contact lens and miscellaneous optical equipment etc are boxed and used directly in relation to expansion of service and ready for export generally to Asia and Africa with humanitarian groups)
The next step is to sort the boxes into prescription spectacles, reader glasses (both prescription the same and angle 180- similar to sunglasses purchased from Pharmacies and Gift shops), bifocal (2 halves with different prescription). Unsuitable frames, major damaged lens are discarded, either to metal recyclers or council landfill.
The boxes are notated with style and ready for washing using our 5 industrial cleaners and then dried, checked for suitability, and ready to be graded. In this step, the spectacles prescriptions are written on labels and included with the pair of spectacles in a plastic envelope ready for sorting into export boxes. Like at each stage in the process the end result must stay within specified guidelines and rules.
The boxes with roughly 200 pair per box are stored and then graded in our 12 lensometer machines by a number of persons on the work for the dole Commonwealth funded employment development, generally 15-25 persons on 15 or 30 hours a week. In addition a number on Community Service Orders are also involved as is a number on Volunteer Work for Centrelink pensions, and a number of Lions volunteers.
Forty washed boxes (8,000 pair) are also forwarded to our Numinbah Correction Centre (Gold Coast Hinterland) to be graded
by residents of the centre before being returned to Redcliffe Centre- generally a 4 weeks occurrence. After being graded,
the spectacles are sorted into boxes, each box containing 100 pair of a particular prescription and 100 pairs of the next
higher prescription (both longer sighted or shorter sighted) and stored in our export area.
At Caboolture PCYC, the programme has a small operation due to limited space and generally based on the final stage of the process, and administrative advising of product received.
What Has Been Achieved?
Last financial year, we forwarded close to 500,000 pair of refurbished prescription spectacles to 20+ locations in the third world worth around $90,000,000 of humanitarian aid from Australia, but more importantly enabling half a million ADDITIONAL persons in the third world who could not see properly to now see as well as Lions in Australia.
Since we started the programme in 1991 and received a license direct from the International Board of Lions Clubs International
in 1998 the Australian programme has given sight to over seven million person in the third world from those spectacles, that
Lions across our nation collected from their local communities.
This year, we need to duplicate our existing Redcliffe Centre either through physical expansion or through additional space.
Obviously, the success not only comes from the 1400 Lions and Lioness Clubs in Australia (and some in Japan), the multitude
of private families who forward spectacles to us, the multitude of Council, State and Australia entities that forward spectacles
to us to our major depot in the Moreton Bay Regional Council, but the support by our Regional Council, our State of Queensland,
and our Australia.
The most pleasing aspect is that Australian Lions and the broad community are too successful in forwarding used spectacles,
sunglasses and hearing aids (small number) and unused contact lens and other equipment.
Not only this programme benefits the third world by adding an additional 500,000 (each year) adults & children who can now see, but also the advantage to our team of Lions, persons on work for the dole, persons on community correction orders who are gaining the experience and know how to build the success of their own families.
What Needs To Happen?
Given the opportunity to duplicate our undercover area, we can:
Double the current process to convert used spectacles into prescription glasses to an estimated extra one million adults &
children in the third world each year. Ever expanding the number who can see.
The opportunity to double our equipment base through State and National opportunities to expand for Australia.
Double the number of persons on the Commonwealth of Australia Work for the Dole programme.
Double the opportunity for persons on community service orders or in receipt of pension in return for volunteer hours of
support to the community.
Achieve all the foregoing from our current success in receiving over half a million pair of used spectacles each year.
We will need to review all elements of the programme and decide the elements of that success. Perhaps with the continuing
expanding success of the programme, we need to consider whether manpower spent on acknowledging incoming mail should be
limited to a general report each year to our National Convention and reporting direct to the Council of Governors.
In the current bushfire challenge, any club with local bushfire volunteers is welcome to
receive quality sunglasses should the need arise. Please write.
The 6 years old child’s words at the start of this report summarised the success of the programme.
Cate simply said “please forward my spectacles to another child in need”.
It expands the Lions “WE SERVE” motto to TOGETHER WE SERVE MANKIND.”
Kenneth G Leonard OAM JP(Q) BA(ANU)
Lions Recycle for Sight Australia Inc
18 January 2020
Lions Clubs International
LIONS RECYCLE FOR SIGHT AUSTRALIA INC
“one pair of glasses can change a person’s life”
A child summed up the whole programme in these words:
“Dear Lions Club,
I would like to donate my glasses
I was six years old when I got them,
They don’t fit me any more and I needed a new prescription.
Can you please send them to poor children that need them.
From Cate (pair spectacles)”