One thing is for certain, donations can attract results overseas, particularly if you have someone on the ground making it happen. The John Fawcett Foundation (JFF) is unique in these ways and others:

  • John is a West Australian, with philanthropic wishes for his adopted home of Bali and the rest of the Indonesian archipelago. JFF would be stoked if you helped too.
  • John ensures your donation doesn’t all go in administration – it was 12.5% last audit!
  • World Sight Day (October 12) is being marked by the JFF with a special, seven-day event in impoverished Situbondo, East Java. Four mobile eye clinics, four ophthalmic surgeons (over 400 cataract blind people) and JFF’s full screening team (seeing an estimated 2500 people with eye problems, handing out about 1875 pairs of glasses and treating 1250 people with eye drops).
  • You are invited to join a consortium of donors to raise the A$55,000 for the seven-day program. You are welcome to visit Situbondo and see firsthand the difference these incursions make to many people’s lives.

“Donors who have given significant amounts to specific activities are sent a report on those activities, complete with photographs. We always welcome people visiting our Foundation’s base in Bali – going out with the mobile eye clinic on one of the screening/operating programs is the best way to get a real feel for what we are doing and the significance of our assistance,” John said.

While A$95 restores sight to someone affected by cataracts, $2500 brings a two-day screening/operating bus to an outlying village in Bali where about 500 locals are screened, glasses and eye drops given to around 300 people, and 10 people receive sight-restoring operations. Satisfying results indeed!

Training of local people on-the-job has been part of the Foundation’s modus operandi, whether training ophthalmologists or nurses. A close relationship has blossomed between JFF and the Centre for Ophthalmology and Visual Science UWA, The Lions Eye Institute and the Perth Eye Hospital.

All JFF’s services are for the poor and are free for the patients. Since the project began in 1991, about 48,000 people have received sight-restoring operations, and nearly one million people have been screened for eye problems.

In Indonesia, some three million people are needlessly blind from cataracts, causing a huge drain on the economy, not to mention personal distress.

There are cultural barriers to overcome. Family elders must give permission. Hindu beliefs often attribute today’s physical illnesses to superstition or an act in a previous life. The elderly do not step forward because they feel less important and are more accepting of their lot. So, gentle campaigning is part of the philanthropic work.

“I would like to ask WA doctors to assist JFF financially – in whatever way they can. Funding is a huge issue for the continuation of our work. JFF is tax-deductible in Australia and JFF is a WA-based organisation.”

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