WiRED Fits Kenyans with Free Glasses


This September in Kisumu, Kenya, WiRED International distributed 300 pairs of reading glasses to middle-aged and older people who had deteriorating eyesight and no money to pay for glasses.


During WiRED’s visit to Kisumu each year, we provide items with a health-focus that people are unable to afford or to obtain locally. Last year we brought toothbrushes (click for story), which we distributed mostly to children (after a class using WiRED’s Dental Hygiene Module).


This year we assisted older folks who had typical, age-related vision problems. WiRED provided training sessions to staff at WiRED health learning centers in Pandipieri and Obunga, both in Kisumu. The WiRED team gave a presentation using its new Vision Overview Module, and then set up tables with glasses lined up according to strength (1.25 - 3.25 diopters).


People 60+ years of age were invited to the tables first, followed by 50+, then 40+. In some cases, younger people known to have vision issues received glasses. Recipients were given a newspaper, then provided with a medium strength pair of glasses, moving up or down as needed to allow the person to read the paper comfortably at arm’s length.


WiRED Director Gary Selnow said, “I would love to have shared with our volunteers and supporters the thrill of these older people, many of whom, for the first time in years, were able to read a newspaper. Friends of WiRED have made it possible for us to provide simple eyeglasses that had an immediate and positive impact on people who have few resources.”


WiRED bought the glasses from Restoring Vision, a non-profit based near San Francisco. The purchases were made possible through special grants from individual donors, including board members.


WiRED intends to continue the program and provide glasses on future trips to the Kisumu community.



Friends of WiRED Send Donations to Children in Kisumu, Kenya


Every fall when Dr. Selnow visits Kisumu he brings a 45-pound duffel bag full of clothes and toys collected from WiRED supporters, volunteers and board members, who have provided articles for infants and children up to six years. Dr. Selnow gives the clothes to the Kenyan staff, and they, in turn, distribute the donations to children at the Kisumu Urban Apostolate Programmes Pandipieri Center in Kisumu, and at the WiRED Community Health Education Center in Obunga. Kisumu, located on Lake Victoria in North West Kenya near the Ugandan border, is a poor and underserved region.


Staff at the center report that it is like Christmas morning for those children who receive the donations. Program officer Jenipher Muhanji said, “We may never meet the givers of the gifts, but we know that the gifts were carefully chosen with needy children in mind.”