Trip opens benefactor's eyes

By John Maslin

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Retired Whanganui optometrist Mike Webber (left) with Phnom Penh eye clinic director Dr Hang Vra, and Timaru ophthalmologist Dr Muhammad Khalid. Photo/Supplied.
Retired Whanganui optometrist Mike Webber (left) with Phnom Penh eye clinic director Dr Hang Vra, and Timaru ophthalmologist Dr Muhammad Khalid. Photo/Supplied.

A trip to Cambodia to see the voluntary work done among that country's poor has left a lasting impression on a local philanthropist.

Sharon Bryant travelled to that country recently along with retired Whanganui optometrist Mike Webber, to see first-hand the work of he and the Rose Charities has been doing for a number of years to improve the eye health of many in that country.

Mrs Bryant is a founding partner of Wellington company Movac and is a key sponsor of the Young Enterprise Trust and active mentor to students participating in that programme. When she's not involved in that work she is at home in Whanganui.

She also has connections with the PIF Foundation which held a fundraising event in
Whanganui in 2012 and collected $6000 toward the purchase of a truck to be used in Cambodia. The foundation then matched that sum and the truck was bought.

Mrs Bryant said she came away "absolutely amazed" at what the charity had achieved.

"Mike's an amazing man. I was humbled to see the work he's been doing in Cambodia and I know he has also been doing in the Pacific Islands," she said.

She teamed up with Mr Webber and Timaru ophthalmologist Dr Muhammad Khalid and saw the work they did at outreach eye clinics in villages outside the capital city of Phnom Penh.

"On the Sunday we were there almost 300 locals came through the clinic. Assessments were made and those needing surgery for cataracts were taken to the city hospital over the next day or two.

"These people were transported from their villages to the city in the van Whanganui people had fundraised for, so that was special."

The PIF Foundation is a private philanthropic charitable trust set up in 2006 focused on supporting organisations working with those most in need throughout New Zealand and the world. The Rose Charities is one of the organisations it supports.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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