• Sunny delight! Your old shades help hundreds

    As we say goodbye to those hazy summer days we are also bidding a fond farewell to our first Shade Aid campaign.

    Over the past two months your generosity has known no limits, and we are delighted to have collected a whopping 842 pairs of unwanted sunglasses.

    Many of these have already been taken over to people in Kenya, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ethiopia, Zambia and Malawi, and the rest will be distributed by Vision Aid Overseas and Build Africa in the coming weeks.

    This means that hundreds of people can now go about their lives under the blazing heat of the sun without worrying about damaging their vision.

    And, as if that wasn’t enough, those shades that were no longer safe to wear have been recycled, and almost £700 has been raised. This could help restore or improve the sight of up to 44 people!

    None of this would have been possible without people like you giving up a pair or two of old shades, so a massive thank you!

    We’ve had support from right across the country, and the shades encompass a range of styles, colours and brands. Not that any of that matters to the people in need – with a pair of sunglasses costing them a year’s salary they are just delighted that others are thinking of their health.

    By the time a child growing up in Africa is 18 they will have absorbed 80 per cent of their lifetime exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays, Lucy Jenkins from Vision Aid overseas tells us. This can bring on problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration, as well as other serious eye disorders.

    But most people never own a pair of shades, let alone have access to an optician or ophthalmologist, so hundreds of thousands live their lives with poor vision.

    And this is why we have been so pleased with the enormous response to our Shade Aid campaign. It just goes to show that giving up one little luxury that we often take for granted can be a real life-changer for those in need.

    And as our campaign spokesperson Cara Kilbey, start of The Only Way Is Essex, says, “Your sunglasses might be replaceable, but your eyes aren’t.”

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