Pensioner desperately looking for sponsored new eyeglasses

POSTED: 04/15/14 1:23 AM

St. Maarten – Swinda Abram is not alone – there are hundreds like her. The pensioner, who has spent her working life as a security guard, a cleaner and as someone doing odd jobs, needs reading glasses. The problem: she is living on a pension of 640 guilders a month and the quote for new the glasses she so badly needs from Chic Optic amounts to $615. She does not have that kind of money.

Mrs. Abram came with her friend Julian Rollocks to this newspaper to ask for help. While we do not have spare reading glasses, or money to help her out, we do understand her cry for help. If you are not able to see properly, you are pretty helpless.

According to the latest figures from the central Bureau for Statistics (VBS), St. Maarten had 40,917 registered inhabitants in 2009. Of those, 7,907 (19.3 percent) were over the age of 50. It may be clear that Swinda Abram is older than that – she is a pensioner. CBS also found that nearly everyone over the age of 55 wears glasses, and the lady in distress falls exactly into that category.

Mrs. Abram worked from 1986 as a security guard for fourteen years, before she turned to cleaning and later – up to last year – to doing odd jobs. Now, pensioned and impoverished, she is looking for sponsors to help her get the new eyeglasses she so badly needs.

Her longtime friend Julian Rollocks – himself no spring chicken either and battling eye problems of his own – said yesterday that something must be done to regulate compensation for eyeglasses. Mrs. Abram found out from SZV that it does not pay for eyeglasses.

“On an income of 640 guilders per month it is not possible to come up with $615 for new glasses,” says Rollocks. “In the Netherlands there would be no reason to go to a newspaper because people are taken care of. We are part of the Kingdom, and look at Mrs. Abram’s situation. The parliament has to do something. Even if they would make a regulation to subsidize eyeglasses up to 500 guilders, it would be better than nothing. But pensioners cannot go without eyeglasses.”

Readers who want to help Swinda Abram are free to call her at 554 12 22. Rollocks has already offered to pay part of the costs.

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