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 Eyeglass Assist

Solomon Islands Project





We are very happy to be able to tell everyone that we have returned from the Solomon Islands after our tremendously successful 2018 Project, leaving behind us many thousands of people who now have better vision.  We were representing both the cruising community and the people of Australia and we have no doubt that the already strong bonds that existed, have been made even closer as a result of what we have managed to achieve.  It was very challenging, sometimes dangerous (almost losing S.V.Monkey Fist on one ocassion), but at the same time very, very rewarding.

The Solomons are remote. Every year around 750 yachts visit Fiji and we estimate that in the Solomons it would be less 50, the overwhelming majority of those restricting their movements to well known areas such as Marovo Lagoon and the New Georgia area. Many of the places we visited had not had any visiting yachts in several years, some places yachts had never stopped at in living memory. What this meant for the project is that we didn't connect up with any other yachts which was probably the only negative aspect of the project.

If we were to put a monetary value on the project's contribution to the people of the Solomon Islands, including the value of the glasses donated, as well as Frances and my "in-kind" donation of time and resources we estimate conservatively that it would be around $500,000Au. If a large aid organization was to undertake a similar project the cost would be in the tens of millions of dollars. Over the last 18 months we have invested many thousands of hours and much of our own funds to ensure the project was a success and we are very proud of what we have achieved. There are now many thousands of people living in remote villages who would otherwise have no hope or prospect of having clear vision and thanks to the people who believed in us, together we have been able to help so many people who are less fortunate than ourselves. We would hope that everybody who has kept up with our progress through our blog has an appreciation for the work we have put in and the challenges we have faced and overcome along the way.

Many people we met told us something we already knew - that they, the people living in remote areas get very little help from anyone. As a result of our experiences, we have developed a huge respect for the Solomon Islands people - their resilience and resourcefulness, their senses of humour and for the remainder of our lives we will have a special place in our hearts for them.

We cannot thank enough the people and companies who have helped to make this project the tremendous success that it was. Especially Chris at "On The Nose" reading glasses who stepped in at the last moment and donated the short fall in the number of glasses needed to make the project viable.

A few stats to think about: -

Time in the Solomon Islands - 21 weeks / 147 days
Anchorages - Dropped anchor - 71 times - deepest water anchored in - 32 metres (i.e. very deep)
Miles travelled - 4,500 miles (8,300 kms)
Nights at sea - 22
Islands where clinics conducted - 25
Number of clinics conducted - 74
Pairs of eyeglasses fitted and supplied (distance and reading) - 9,500 pairs
(The remainder of the spectacles on board (approx. 2,500 pairs) we delivered to the National Eye Centre Honiara to be shipped to the provincial hospitals
Oldest person to receive spectacles - 100
Youngest person to receive spectacles - 9
Sunglasses provided - 6,000 pairs
Beaches walked - ....1

While we are away we were unable to upload information to this website but did so via our blog and if you're interested in checking out some of adventures, stories and a some pics, please click on the photo below and it will take you to our blog at:-  www.sailblogs.com/member/monkeyfist


We might all live in different places and we might have different cultures, speak different languages and eat different food and we might look different, but deep down we humans are all the same and that is something we should be celebrating rather than focussing on what divides us. There are no strangers, just friends we haven't met.




                                lady with papers schoolgirl


Our names are Paul and Frances Tudor-Stack, and we have created Eyeglass Assist, a not for profit organisation. Nine years ago we left our jobs, family and friends behind in Darwin Australia and headed to distant shores on our 1982 restored sailing boat, Sea Spray. Since departing on our voyage we have incorporated a unique service in our travelling to help people living in remote communites. Our service is to provide eyeglasses, otherwise known as spectacles, to people who cannot afford or otherwise access them. We conduct basic vision screening and dispense eyeglasses without any cost or obligation to those in need, without cost to the communties and without cost to the countries governments. 

 For many people this is a life changing experience

From the time we commenced our voyage in 2008 we have provided almost 8,000 pairs of spectacles, as well as sunglasses, to people living in remote islands and mainland villages in 13 different countries, throughout Asia, Oceania, the Pacific Ocean and Mexico. We have fitted glasses to people in their 70's who haven't been able to read for 20 years and to young people who have dropped out of school because they can no longer see the blackboard or read a text book - a situation that we who live the developed world cannot envisage.

We now have almost a decade of experience providing our services to remote communities. Over the last ten years we have incorporated Eyeglass Assist into our travelling  and up until now all costs associated with the project have been covered by ourselves. In 2018 we want to take our humanitarian work to the next level - we are dedicating 100% of our time and effort to achieving the goals of Eyeglass Assist by supplying remote village people living in the Solomon Islands with the gift of better vision.  

Our plan is to depart Australia from Brisbane in mid 2018 and sail the 1,100 nautical miles (2,200 kms) across the Coral Sea to the Solomon Islands in our 13 metre sailboat Monkey Fist, carrying 10,000 pairs of spectacles and as many pairs of sunglasses as we can possibly fit on board. The spectacles and sunglasses will be provided by the Lions Club of Australia Recycle For Sight Program. The voyage to the Solomons will take 10 to 12 days and upon arrival in order to achieve our goal, we will be working six days a week and we will be doing so without any personal financial gain, 100% our time will be devoted our mission.

If you are currently wearing glasses take them off and try and imagine what life would be like without them.  Try reading this, try finding a small object that you have dropped, try sewing, try to write something or tie a knot or carve or knit or do a thousand other things that you need to be able to see clearly close at hand.  Then you will begin to realise what life without glasses would be like.  Living in devoloped countries, we take clear vision for granted, but many people live much of their lives without being able to see clearly because they don't have glasses. The benefits of our service have proved invaluable to many remote communities and you can see what some of the leaders think of our contribution on our testimonial page. 

However there are considerable costs involved in such a project and for us to make this happen we are seeking financial support. We can not achieve this ourselves, so we are looking for people who can see the value in what we are doing to help the project.  Regardless of how little you can contribute to the project it will all make a difference, and without your help 10,000 people who live in the Solomon Islands will not receive the gift of better vision.     

For more information about the 2018 project and to donate and to read about what we have already achieved you can check out the items in the menu buttons on the left hand side of each page.



Eyeglass Assist gratefully acknowledges the support of the following companies

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Southern Aurora Logo  for fast and reliable web,email & database hosting

         JADAM PTY LTD 


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Eyeglass Assist Assoc.Inc. ABN 15568687010

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