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Fighting preventable blindness with old sunglasses

News: Shade Aid

Three Leeds venues have joined forces to launch ‘Shade Aid’, a new charity initiative fighting preventable blindness through recycling and re-gifting unwanted sunglasses.

Prohibition, Halo and Quilted Llama are calling on the people of Leeds to dig out their old sunglasses to donate!

The best pairs will be distributed by Vision Aid Overseas and Build Africa to people in Kenya, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ethiopia, Zambia and Malawi. Sunglasses cost as much as a year’s salary in developing countries, so they are simply unobtainable for the average person.

Any sub-standard specs will be recycled to raise money for the two beneficiary charities’ preventable blindness projects.

So - whether you’re a Prada ‘Butterfly’ loving fashionista, a devotee of retro cat’s eyes or a loyal fan of the classic Ray-Ban Wayfarer, your unwanted sunglasses could become more than just last season’s cast-offs.

Matt Lowe, General Manager at Halo says, “Last summer our ‘Bra Bank’ campaign collected thousands of bras and we’re hoping to recreate the same success with sunglasses! We hope everyone gets behind our ‘Shade Aid’ campaign.”

Lucy Jenkins, Communications Manager for Vision Aid Overseas says “Ocular sun damage is a serious health issue in Africa. In fact, by the time the average child is 18, they will have absorbed 80 per cent 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.

“But here in the UK we regularly change our sunglasses without really thinking about how important they are. People in excessively sunny places like Africa need proper eye protection but sadly, often do not have the access to eye care services and some will go their entire life without seeing an eye health professional.”

First to donate is The Only Way Is Essex star Cara Kilbey (pictured). Cara says, “Your sunglasses might be replaceable, but your eyes aren’t. Now you have an opportunity to help people in the world’s sunniest - but poorest - countries protect their eyes. Shade Aid is a brilliant way for people to put their unwanted sunglasses to good use and it’s so easy to get involved.”

Every year 48% people in Leeds ditch their shades for a more up-to-date style, so why not donate them to Shade Aid so that someone who really needs them will benefit?

For people in developing countries, sunglasses are much less about looking as fashion forward as possible, and much more about shielding their eyes from sun damage.

The sun may be a reluctant visitor in Britain, but in Africa there is a scorching 2,500 hours of sun a year. When a pair of sunglasses can cost as much as a year’s salary, this vital safeguard is simply unattainable.

It’s so easy to donate your sunglasses. Either drop them off at Prohibition, Halo or Quilted Llama - or The Boathouse - or pop them in the post any time before August 1st.

• LEEDS Prohibition - Yorkshire House Greek Street, Leeds, LS1 5SH
• LEEDS Halo/Quilted Llama 177-179 Woodhouse Lane Leeds LS2 9JT


Posted on Monday 18th June 2012

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