Dispensing optician with Specsavers in Ballymena, Jill Holmes is preparing for a summer vacation with a difference and is asking local glasses wearers for their help.
In August this year Jill will be part of a group travelling to the village of Kisumu in Kenya. Her specific destination is the VisPa orphanage and school complex which was set up several years ago by a Christian charity emanating from Brookside Presbyterian Church in Ahoghill. Headed up by Colin and Gillian Hayburn, the Friends of VisPa charity travel each year to Kisumu to support the work of VisPa by giving financial, material and spiritual assistance.
Jill said: “I heard about the work of VisPa through Gillian Hayburn when she brought her son in for an eye test.
The group was looking for an optician as they were aware that the 600 children attending the school never had the opportunity to have their eyes tested let alone have access to glasses. It just sounded like a fantastic opportunity to do something really worthwhile and practical.
“After discussing it at home I signed up immediately and am delighted that my 15 year old daughter Zara is also coming to work with the children in arts and crafts.”
“Whilst Jill can help with the eye testing she is keen to do more and has set about collecting as many second hand single vision glasses as possible to bring with her.
“We don’t have any facilities in Kenya to make up prescriptions so I am collecting and categorising glasses here so that I can match the young people’s needs as closely as possible. “If anyone has a pair of glasses that they no longer use I would be really grateful to have them to recycle for this very worthwhile cause and there’s a collection box in the store where they can be dropped in.”