ORBIS Ireland will be teaming up with Lufthansa Technik to host the annual Plane Pull For Sight at Shannon Airport on September 10.
All funds raised on the day will go directly towards Orbis’ sight-saving work in Southern Ethiopia, where it is working to eliminate preventable blindness and restore sight to rural villagers in the poorest regions of Ethiopia.
The plane pull involves competing teams of 25 vying with each other to pull an aircraft 12ft in the shortest possible time.
The fundraiser is suitable for corporate groups motivated to try something new while having fun, teams from the general public and families looking for a fun day out.
Speaking after a previous event, Ann Marie Browne of AWAS said, “It really was a fantastic day. Everyone really enjoyed it and have been praising it to the rest of our colleagues today.”
Orbis is the result of an alliance that has been forged between the medical and aviation industries.
Back in the 1970s, leaders from both came together to create a plan that led to the organisation’s foundation. High costs of tuition, international travel and accommodation prevented doctors and nurses in developing countries from participating in overseas training programmes. Even when they could afford to study abroad, opportunities were being limited as strict licensing laws often prevented them from performing surgery.
The initial solution was a mobile teaching hospital on board an aeroplane, where doctors with knowledge of the latest ophthalmic techniques could bring their knowledge and skills to developing countries.
The organisation continued to grow over the years, adding hospital-based training programmes and fellowships to its portfolio, to provide additional skills-building opportunities for eye-care professionals. In 1999, to build the capacity of local partners, the organisation created long-term country programmes in Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, India and Vietnam. Similar programmes have also been established in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Last year, it trained 30,326 medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, biomedical engineers and others.
Lufthansa Technik Shannon, formerly Shannon Aerospace Ltd (SAL), specialises in the overhaul of short and medium-range aircraft. It has a workforce of more than 500 people.