Helping readers’ sight with 840 pairs of glasses

Tuesday February 12, 2019 Written by Published in Health
Maile Thompson with the reading glasses that will be given out to people in need on Friday. She brought about 840 pairs. 19021129 Maile Thompson with the reading glasses that will be given out to people in need on Friday. She brought about 840 pairs. 19021129

A Good Samaritan from Hawaii has secured about 840 pairs of reading glasses which will be given to people in need for free this Friday.


Maile Thompson will be at the Salt Café Gallery, which is located between the Cook Islands Police Headquarters and Bank of the Cook Islands building, from 9am to 1pm distributing the glasses alongside Doctor Teariki Faireka and other volunteers.

The reading glasses are donated by the Hawaiian Eye Foundation and brought over to the Cook Islands with the support of Air New Zealand. The initiative is also supported by the Ministry of Health.

Thompson, whose mother hails from Arorangi, works for the foundation as a volunteer.

She is visiting the island for her mama’s 90th birthday and used the trip to bring some support to her maternal home.

“I thought I bring along a donation of reading glasses and give them out to anyone who needs them. This is a joint venture with Ministry of Health and Dr Faireka, with the support from Air New Zealand who sponsored the freighting,” Thompson said.

“We will be at Reeves’ residence (Salt Café Gallery) from 9am to 1pm where we will be checking people to see what strength (of glasses) they need using a (eye reading) chart. The smallest line they can read is their strength and then we will give them a free pair of reading glasses.”

Thompson said the Hawaiian Eye Foundation strives to give access to quality eye care to people of the Pacific Rim and beyond.

She said the foundation had done surgical work in places such as Samoa and Mexico, among many other countries.

“This is kind of smaller side of what they (the foundation) do so we are going to work with Dr Faireka and Ministry of Health to see if there is something more that can be done.

“The Hawaiian Eye Foundation does a lot of surgical missions elsewhere, equipment donation and doctor training. I came here with this support just to kind of start the relationship between the Cook Islands and the foundation.”

Thompson said Dr Faireka would be available on Friday to help people who needed help beyond reading glasses.

“There is an eye specialist coming in the next couple of months and this is a good timing for Dr Faireka as he is getting ready to refer people to the incoming specialist.”

Thompson thanked former CI News journalist Rachel Reeves and pharmacist Shannon Saunders for helping her get in touch with the Health minister Rose Brown and Health secretary Dr Aumea Herman for this initiative.

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