Destination—Bali—and Not Just for Vacations

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands—one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.

—Audrey Hepburn

Ordinary People with an Extraordinary Mission

Peter and Christine

At first glance, Peter and Christine Schulz are just a regular couple in their retirement and Eyecare Plus Roselands‘ patients for more than 17 years. Peter always has an amusing story to tell, while Christine loves to play with colour with her frame purchases—we think she has one to match every outfit!

This couple is always a delight to serve because of their vigour and very positive outlook on life.

Practice Manager Andrew Beswick observed that Peter and Christine regularly visit Bali, Indonesia, during the holidays.

Eyecare Plus Roselands’ Practice Manager, Andrew Beswick, recounts his fondness of the couple who has been their patients for almost two decades now.

Andrew recalls, ‘One day they approached me and asked me—could we supply them with some donated spectacles? We found out they were spending some of their holiday time to help the people of Bali through the John Fawcett Foundation.’

The John Fawcett Foundation (JFF) is a humanitarian not-for-profit organisation that assists people in Indonesia, particularly in the field of sight restoration and blindness prevention. It offers its assistance to people in the lower socio-economic group free of charge and without religious, political or ethnic consideration.

Renewing hope, uplifting lives, restoring sight is the Foundation’s vision.

Our practices have, on many occasions, donated spectacles to the John Fawcett Foundation, who has always been so grateful to receive them. However, not many people have heard about the Foundation.

Why They Do What They Do

Inspired by John Fawcett, who is an Australian doing amazing work in Indonesia, Peter and Christine one day decided to visit the JFF headquarters to see for themselves, since the foundation is based in Sanur, close to where the couple stays when vacationing in Bali.

What they witnessed touched their hearts immensely, prompting them to take similar action: ‘We were blown away to see the extent of what they do with just donations and support from Rotary Australia.’

When asked why they do what they do, Peter states, ‘As per the motto of the foundation, we do it “because we can”. Restoring sight impacts the very core of the family and the whole village. The person can once again be an important part of the everyday life of the family by being able to work again. Also it frees up the carer of this person so they can also return to their everyday lives.’

The JFF provides eye care to the people in remote areas of Indonesia who require cataract surgery. Peter and Christine spend time with the people of Bali, sitting with them and offering comfort and companionship before and after their operation.
Peter with a Bali local who just received spectacles still with the tag on. 🙂

Bringing the Clinic to the Village

The Mobile Eye Clinic is a JFF initiative bringing the foundation’s humanitarian assistance to remote villages in Bali where there are no ophthalmic services and where the people are too economically disadvantaged to seek specialist medical attention. Through the Mobile Eye Clinic, the locals will receive free eye screening, glasses and eye medicines, and school eye screening.

The Mobile Eye Clinic also serves as an ‘operating van’ where surgery is performed free of charge for those identified as blind with cataracts.

The Mobile Eye Clinic brings eye healthcare to the remote villages that do not have access to ophthalmic services.

Do you know that the original mobile eye clinic was a secondhand school bus fitted out in Perth, Western Australia, and air-freighted to Bali by the Australian Air Force? The Foundation has come a long way since then. The current mobile clinics are sophisticated, fully equipped, sterile operating theatres with plenty of space for patients and the operating team, with a separate section for patients being prepared for surgery.

The John Fawcett Foundation aims to eradicate curable blindness in Indonesia. Do you know that a 20-minute operation can restore sight? And the day after their operation, patients return for a post-op check and have their eye pads removed.

They are able to see again—sometimes for the first time in many years!

Children—the Hope of the Future

Behavioural optometrist Dr Soojin Nam states, ‘The greatest gift we can give is the gift of vision that helps improve the quality of life.’ A brilliant mind and great talents can hide behind a vision problem, so we can’t stress the importance of regular eye exams in schoolage kids enough.

All these schoolchildren will receive a free eye screening and spectacles as needed, made possible by the John Fawcett Foundation and the individuals and organisations who support them financially or ‘in kind’.

The foundation also attends schools in remote areas to provide free eye exam. Christine states, ‘Cataract operations on children born with cataracts enables them to lead a normal life from the very beginning.’

‘A momentary act of kindness can mean a lifetime of relief.’

Eyecare Plus Optometrists providing Eyecare Vision services are inspired by good works in all forms, like what Peter and Christine do for the people of Bali.

Andrew states, ‘We are happy to support Peter and Christine in their endeavors to provide eye care to disadvantaged people because we agree that it is important to give back where possible in order to make the life of others better.’

Peter and Christine’s story tells us that we don’t need to be youngsters to go out and make a difference. This lovely couple are neither optometrists nor optical dispensers, just regular people in their retirement donating some of their time to help. Their compassion shows us you don’t need to have a big wallet to have a big heart, and you don’t have to be an eyecare professional to help fight blindness and restore sight!

Do you also want to bring eyecare to the indigenous people of Bali? You can!

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