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One Minute with Laura One Minute with Laura

One Minute with Laura

Laura Lee is The Fred Hollows Foundation Chief Representative Hong Kong and ASEAN. Laura explains how she is inspired by Professor Fred Hollows’ belief that saving sight is “good honest work”. 

Can you tell us what’s so cool about your job?
One of the best things about working in the aid sector is the knowledge that whatever tasks you perform, no matter how mundane or tedious, serves to help someone. It makes even paper-pushing bearable!
However, the best part about my job must be the people I’ve been privileged to meet. Through this role I have met some incredible colleagues and donors who hail from all walks of life, but they all demonstrate the very best of humanity: compassion, generosity and a wider awareness of the world.
What touches you so much about restoring sight for people?
What strikes me the most is the ability to make a concrete, measurable change to someone’s life almost immediately. It is amazing that someone who has been blind from cataract for years can have their sight restored with a simple 15 minute operation – and with the restoration of sight comes independence, opportunities, and a better livelihood … it’s amazing. I remember one time in the field where I witnessed the moment a blind child had her sight restored – up until then this little girl had only heard the sound of her mother’s voice, but had never seen her face. I still get emotional remembering the moment when she could see her mom for the first time.
Is there a life motto or words of inspiration that keep you motivated at work every day?
Try to leave the world a better place than when you entered it.
Growing up in a safe environment where I can access life’s essentials – medical services, food, water … means that I’m incredibly lucky compared with a large proportion of the world’s population. And I feel that when we have been blessed in life, it is our responsibility to give back, and any positive change you can make to someone’s life, not matter how small it may initially seem, has repercussions beyond that individual.

You have worked in the humanitarian field for many years. What sets The Fred Hollows Foundation apart from other aid organisations?
What drew me to The Foundation is its development approach. FHF doesn’t do flash-in-the-pan engagement. We work to build up the capacity of the country to facilitate access to eye health care for all. This is why The Foundation focuses on training local doctors, nurses and community health workers – to not just provide direct treatment but also to train others to provide treatment; on building and supporting permanent local health facilities; on providing eye health education to schools and communities; on collaborating with local partners and working with ministries of health and other government stakeholders; and on creating sustainable models of care that can be replicated elsewhere. As Professor Hollows said:  “First, train the trainers. Then, they can go out and train others!”

See how you can make a difference together with Laura here.

More information:
Laura's view on gender and eye health