• Bright futures

    The Shade Aid campaign may be only part way through, but already your donations are making a BIG difference to the lives of people in Kenya.

    With hundreds of pairs of unwanted sunnies pouring in as the country got wetter and wetter, we headed over to meet with beneficiary charity Build Africa and hand out the first batch.

    We visited two Shade Aid beneficiary projects, one in Mwala and one in Nakuru, taking a mixture of children’s and adult’s sunglasses that had been donated by you lovely people.

    And to see the kids go crazy over them was just so much fun! They were delighted by the bright colours but most of all, they were amazed that people “far, far away” cared about them enough to send something that, to them, meant the world.

    They asked us loads of questions about where the shades had come from (answer: your friends in the UK), and how we had got them there (answer: on an aeroplane). Then followed endless questions about flying!

    We also handed out sunglasses to adults who work on the land and so spend their days underneath the blazing sun. Shades also went to those with eye problems who need extra protection.

    One father and his son each got a pair. Dad couldn’t believe that he now owns what is considered a luxury item and was really thrilled.

    Those who got a pair of sunglasses are now celebrities in their village, but the really great thing is that Shade Aid is lifting the spirits of the entire community by showing them that people do care and that their lives can be improved.

    The sunglasses we handed out mean that many people are now protected from harmful UV rays. Ocular sun damage is a serious health issue in Africa. By the time the average child is 18, they will have absorbed 80% of their lifetime exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Extended UV exposure has been linked to cataracts and macular degeneration as well as other serious eye disorders which can cause loss of vision.

    It seems ridiculous that we don’t even consider the health benefits of sunglasses. Neither do we have to spend a year’s salary on a single pair. Nor do we worry about being able to go to see an optician if we are having problems with our vision.

    We chop and change our shades with the latest fashions, which means thousands of pairs of unwanted sunnies that could go to a new home in Africa.

    It’s a simple gesture that makes a massive difference, so help us create sunnier lives and please continue to send your old shades.

    www.shadeaid.org.uk/dropoffpoints

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