Standard Chartered announced that it has reached the goal it set in 2011 to raise USD100 million for the fight against avoidable blindness and visual impairment. The goal has been reached two years ahead of the Bank’s 2020 target date.
The news was shared with employees, clients and charity partners at an event at the British Museum to mark 15 years of Seeing is Believing (SiB), Standard Chartered’s global partnership with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) to tackle avoidable blindness and visual impairment.
The money raised through SiB has reached more than 167 million people through medical interventions, eye examinations, and eye health education and training. The initiative has funded 184 eye health projects in 37 countries, supported 4.4 million sight-restoring surgeries and trained more than 318,000 health workers.
India is one of the most important markets for the Bank’s global SiB programme having made a significant and tangible impact in fighting avoidable blindness. Since 2003, SiB in India has supported 1.7 million sight-restoring surgeries and trained more than 15,000 health workers through our presence across 22 states. India has also delivered the maximum number of SiB projects (19) across the Group. More than USD14 million has been invested to build SiB as a holistic eye health delivery ecosystem in India.
David Fein, Group General Counsel and Chairman, SiB said, “Seeing is Believing has changed the lives of millions of individuals and families by providing eye health services that enable many to return to education and work.”
Zarin Daruwala, CEO, Standard Chartered Bank, India, said, “In India, since inception, we have impacted 13 million people and expanded our footprint to 22 states. Our projects have run across the most complex and remote regions of the country. Built with strategic thoughtfulness, our unique SiB ecosystem has transformed from providing free cataract surgeries into a programme which focuses on employability, innovation, building capacity of the national eye care infrastructure, and forging client partnerships to create a lasting legacy.”
Avoidable blindness is a key health issue across Standard Chartered’s footprint. Globally, there are an estimated 36 million blind people and a further 217 million people suffering from moderate or severe visual impairment. Yet 80 per cent of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured.