Timor-Leste President, Jose Ramos-Horta, joined Gabi Hollows to officially open the National Eye Centre in Dili. 

The Centre will provide sight restoring surgery to thousands of people suffering from avoidable blindness and is the first of its kind in Timor-Leste.

“I hope that working together, in the next few years to come, the backlog of cataracts is eliminated,” President Ramos-Horta said.

“We can free thousands of people from having to look after people who have a very simple eye disease, cataract, so that they are cured and they are treated and the people who have to look after them are released into active, productive life.”

Over 13,000 people in Timor-Leste are needlessly blind. The vast majority of them suffer from cataract, a condition that can be overcome with a simple operation that takes less than 20 minutes.

At the opening, Gabi Hollows spoke of her late husband Fred’s great desire to assist the people of Timor-Leste. 

“I know if Fred were here today he would wish the people of Timor-Leste all the very best for this important work,” Gabi Hollows said.

“The construction of this National Eye Centre is one of our proudest achievements. It was constructed with funds donated by the people of Australia, but made possible by the work and expertise of Timor Leste’s eye health community, the local health authorities and The Fred Hollows Foundation New Zealand.”

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