Local builder helps construct opportunities for healthy eyes in Africa

TORONTO, June 17 /CNW/ - Calgary businessman Rob Ohlson has advice for those who want to make a difference in the world: "give more than you have taken in life."

Ohlson knows what he's talking about. The Director of Maillot Homes is changing lives in the developing world one water well at a time.

Ohlson has been a long-time supporter of Operation Eyesight Universal. In his travels to India and Africa he has seen how blindness devastates lives and spirals countless people and communities deeper into poverty.

And he has seen how Operation Eyesight is treating and preventing avoidable blindness.

"Blindness robs individuals of their future," says Ohlson. "However, it does not have to be this way. As an Operation Eyesight donor, I am helping individuals resume a life of contribution and value."

This year Ohlson is contributing to the Narok Drilling Project in Kenya, Africa, where Operation Eyesight is drilling wells to help eliminate trachoma, a highly infectious disease that too-frequently leads to blindness.

By providing communities with clean and accessible water, people can wash their faces more often and stop the spread of disease. The wells can also transform communities. With an operational water well, children can attend school as opposed to walking miles to collect water. Teachers will be attracted to a water-thriving village and overall health in the community will improve.

"On my visit to Africa, I was impressed by the integrated and hands-on approach of Operation Eyesight's programs," says Ohlson. "Communities establish a sense of ownership as individuals help in the construction and maintenance of the water wells."

Ohlson is no stranger to charitable work that supports eyesight. In 2006, he funded the Bob Ohlson Centre for Sight Enhancement & Centre for Rehabilitation of the Blind & Visually Impaired in India, to honour his late father who passed away in 2004. Both father and son shared a keen interest in making a positive change in the lives of the world's poorest.

"My father would be proud of my passion to make a positive change in our world, and I strongly encourage others to do the same," says Ohlson.

Operation Eyesight is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness in the developing world. We work with medical professionals and communities in Africa and India to help provide quality eye care programs and sustainable community development. Since 1963, through the support of our donors, 35 million of the world's poorest people have had their sight restored or protected. To learn more about our work, visit www.operationeyesight.com.


For further information: For further information: Lindsay O'Connor, Head of International Media, oconnor@operationeyesight.com, Cell: (647) 404-4469, Toll-free: 1-800-585-8265 ext. 3

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