By Evelyn Leckie
MERNDA resident and founder of ‘Eyes for Africa’ Julie Tyres has received the Selina Sutherland award as a part of the 27th annual International Women’s Day dinner in Doreen last week.
Ms Tyres started the charitable foundation in 2007 after a trip to Ethiopia that shed light on the assistance remote communities required with sight restoration.
Since the foundation’s beginning, the charity has assisted with more than 3000 cataract surgeries in Ethiopia resulting in sight restoration and improved livelihoods of Ethiopian communities.
The foundation assists with training Ethiopian cataract surgeons and sets up specialists in remote areas.
Ms Tyers who is a full-time ophthalmic nurse spends her holiday leave leading sight-saving expeditions to Ethiopia.
“Here in Australia we take our excellent healthcare for granted and I couldn’t sit back any more and let people in Africa go blind without doing something about it,” Ms Tyers said.
A exhibition in January brought Ms Tyres and her volunteer team to Metehara, a village three hours from Addis Ababa.
The two-week campaign was at a medical clinic, nine kilometres from Metehara.
The group restored sight to 157 people and were also able to organise specialised care to four other patients.
Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green hosted the International Women’s Day dinner and presented the Julie Sutherland award to Ms Tyers.
“The 2019 Selina Sutherland Award recipient Julie Tyers was deservedly acknowledged for her contribution and for her determination and resilience,” Ms Green said.
“Julie is truly an inspiration to all those who meet her.”Her extraordinary efforts in nursing, particularly through her foundation ‘Eyes for Africa’, will have major worldwide benefits long into the future.
”Ms Tyers said she was proud and honoured to be a recipient of the award.“Women are very resilient, we use a lot of common sense and we have much more power than we realise to fulfil our goal,” she said.