The Fred Hollows Foundation celebrates its 22nd birthday today. In that time, it has restored the sight of millions of people around the world.
The Foundation began in Sydney on September 3rd, 1992, at Fred and Gabi’s dining room table in Randwick, five months before Fred passed away.
Since then, every aspect of its work, from the number of operations, the people trained, and revenue raised, has steadily increased.
Last year The Foundation conducted over 4.5 million eye operations, procedures and treatments with local partners.
The Foundation now works throughout Africa, Asia and Australia; dangerous places, too, such as North Korea, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
A large part of our appeal is that Gabi Hollows remains an integral part of The Foundation as its Founding Director, actively involved in board meetings, fundraising, appeals, and last year, opening a new hospital in Migori, Kenya.
As Brian Doolan, the CEO, put it, “It is largely due to the support of the Australian public that The Foundation can continue its important work around the world.
“Not only are they keeping Fred’s dream alive, its realisation is in sight. The number of people in the world who are blind, thanks to organisations such as The Fred Hollows Foundation, has been steadily decreasing. According to the 2013 Global Burden of Disease Study, blindness in people over 50 has dropped from 3 per cent to 1.9 per cent.
“One of the great privileges of my job is being able to watch people having their sight restored and seeing their patches come off. What’s thrilling, of course, is that doctors are not just restoring someone’s sight. They are restoring a person’s dignity, self-respect and their ability to go to school, or back to work.”
“If Fred were alive, he would be so proud of the work we’ve done. He’d also say we still have so much work left to do.”