Lifeline Express

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 September, 2005, 12:00am

Where: Room 407, 4/F China Aerospace Centre, 143 Hoi Bun Road, Kwun Tong

What: Lifeline Express is a charity dedicated to restoring the eyesight of rural mainlanders who suffer from curable blindness such as cataracts.

It operates three trains that are equipped with state-of-the-art eye surgery technology. The trains travel to remote areas of the mainland so that eye specialists can perform free surgery on cataract patients. At least two mainland eye doctors are trained in the latest surgical techniques during each trip.

How: Visit or call 2861 0862. The group relies on volunteers to carry out a number of tasks, ranging from administrative duties to work on board the trains.

Teen volunteer: James Chan, 17, worked for Lifeline Express during his summer holidays last year. He said it was one of the most memorable experiences of his life.

'A year ago, I visited cataract victims in mainland villages. I spent time with children who were blinded by cataracts.

There were so many memorable events during the trip that I can't recount them all, but going to the villages was a real eye-opener. You would never see such things in Hong Kong.

The village children led a very basic lifestyle, but they were very happy.

They were adorable and it didn't matter to them that they didn't have much.

They were easy to please and always smiling, despite being blind.

In rural parts of China, there are no proper medical facilities to treat patients. The technology is so out-of-date compared to the advanced medical equipment available in Hong Kong to cure cataracts.

The situation is very sad since mainland villagers depend on their sight for their livelihood.

I think Lifeline Express is a wonderful organisation because it gives Hong Kong people a chance to help their compatriots across the border. It also allows us to see how lucky we are.

I realised that we must try our best to help them because, after all, we are all Chinese. In Hong Kong, young people are very materialistic and complain about simple things.

But if you see how those people live, you will realise how lucky you are. I think it is very unfair. I haven't had much contact with the blind outside of my trip with Lifeline Express, but it made me see that we are very fortunate. We should learn to treasure what we have.'