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Sharing Resources Worldwide endeavors to improve the health and quality of life of populations around the world.

It happens every year: thousands of people in Wisconsin receive new eyeglass prescriptions and donate their used glasses to the local Lions Club. Do you ever wonder where those glasses go?

In June, 2009, several thousand pair were shipped to the Tougue area of Guinea, West Africa, where a Sharing Resources Worldwide mission team brought new hope and corrected vision to many people, with a simple but cherished recycled resource: eyeglasses.

Founded in January 2002, Sharing Resources Worldwide consists of  doctors, nurses and other volunteers from around the world who provide eye exams and make eyeglasses, durable medical equipment and supplies available to needy populations.  Through brat sales and other fund-raising efforts, along with collection of unneeded eyeglasses, the Verona Lions Club and other community organizations provide ongoing support to help make medical missions like this possible.

Verona Lions Club member Mary Dowling, RN, has been an integral part of these missions since 2006.  Mary has experienced first-hand the successes and challenges of meeting vision needs in this part of the world.  Despite somewhat primitive conditions— no phones or electricity unless one has a generator—the two week missions have been very successful.

During these trips, the teams perform hundreds of eye exams, distributing donated eyeglasses to a large number and referring several patients to Sight Savers in Guinea for cataract removal. In one instance, a child came to the clinic with a foreign body in her eye, causing her significant pain. An SRW physician was able to remove it, thereby preventing the likely outcome of permanent damage to her eye. Team ophthalmologists diagnosed several patients with glaucoma and referred them to a facility which can treat them and restore their vision. In addition to hands-on eye care, SRW was able to donate to Tougue’s host hospital a variety of medications and suture material which will save many lives in the future.

When a mission trip is completed and the numbers are in, Mary reports it is always gratifying to see the total values of goods and services delivered. The team members would tell you they are satisfied with what was accomplished in such a short time. But when you think about your own vision, you realize that it’s hard to put a monetary value on the ability to see. There is no price tag for the joys of working with your hands, seeing the smiles of your loved ones, or watching the sun set over the horizon. The people of Tougue share this universal feeling, and their appreciative comments showed the truly priceless nature of what this mission team did.

Sharing Resources Worldwide is incorporated in the state of Wisconsin and is a tax exempt charitable 501 ( c ) (3) organization.  All donations are tax deductible.  If you would like more information, visit their website at

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