Specsavers Carlow store director, Dolores O’Neill and dispensing optician, Dolores Farrell have helped to support 1,500 patients during a charity mission in the Indian city of Kolkata.
Recently, a Specsavers team of 10 visited the destitute city of Kolkata alongside charity partner The Hope Foundation where they spent a week providing vital eye care in the street and slum communities.
The team also visited The Hope Hospital, which Specsavers supports.
During the week-long volunteering trip, Dolores and Dolores, alongside their Specsavers colleagues, saw 1,500 patients and dispensed more than 1,200 glasses, benefiting people across slums, schools, hospitals and rural villages in the region.
Many of those who were treated by Specsavers staff had never had access to basic eye care before.
Following her first visit to Kolkata with The Hope Foundation, store director Dolores O’Neill said: "I am so grateful to have had the privilege of visiting Kolkata with The Hope Foundation and Specsavers.
"The poverty we witnessed while working in the city is remarkable and it was shocking to witness the destitute living conditions first hand.
"To be able to give those with so little the ability to see is a remarkable task to undertake, and it was so heart-warming to meet the thousands of patients we treated.
"I’d like to take a moment to thank all of those who have helped make this unforgettable journey possible – you have all contributed to giving those in need the gift of sight."
At the end of their week-long volunteering trip, Dolores and Dolores from Specsavers Carlow presented a cheque of €100,000 to founder of The Hope Foundation, Maureen Forrest.
Having raised €75,000 for The Hope Foundation in 2018, Specsavers surpassed this target in 2019. All these funds will go to the Hope Foundation to support the running of the eye clinic in The Hope Hospital Kolkata.
The money will also be used to purchase much-needed, high-quality optical equipment for the care for the underprivileged people of Kolkata.
Dispensing optician, Dolores Farrell said: "Witnessing the poverty in Kolkata made me realise how we all can be guilty of taking healthcare and technology that is so easily accessible for us here in Ireland for granted.
"At Specsavers, we are so proud to be able to provide our customers with access to the latest optical technology such as the recent introduction of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scanners which can help to detect glaucoma up to four years in advance.
"We have committed to visiting Kolkata again later this year and Specsavers Carlow will continue to raise vital funds for The Hope Foundation throughout 2020 with all donations greatly appreciated."