INTERNATIONAL. Seeing is Believing, Standard Chartered’s global charitable initiative to tackle avoidable blindness, has reached the halfway point in its efforts to raise US$100 million to provide eye care to communities across the developing world.
Since its launch in 2003, US$50 million has been raised for Seeing is Believing, which has been used to tackle avoidable blindness in disadvantaged communities across Standard Chartered’s markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
The US$50 million milestone follows the commitment made by Standard Chartered at the Clinton Global Initiative in September 2011 to raise US$100 million by 2020 to help eliminate avoidable blindness – reinforcing the Bank’s ‘Here for good’ brand promise.
The Bank not only promotes and coordinates fundraising for Seeing is Believing, but also matches every dollar raised. The US$50 million milestone equates to US$25 million in raised funds and US$25 million in matched funds.
Richard Meddings, Group Finance Director at Standard Chartered and Chairman of Seeing is Believing, said: “When we launched Seeing is Believing in 2003, I could hardly have imagined that come mid-2012, we’d have raised US$50 million. Support for the cause has been fantastic, both from within Standard Chartered and outside the Bank.
Every dollar raised is matched by Standard Chartered and these funds have helped us reach over 28 million people in communities where eye care was once unaffordable or inaccessible. In millions of cases, the lives of adults and children have been transformed, through simple treatments and affordable surgeries. I’ve seen the results first-hand, and they are nothing short of remarkable. We are now focused on raising the next US$50 million, thereby reaching our goal of raising US$100 million by 2020.”
The US$50 million raised for Seeing is Believing has helped fund more than 2.8 million eye operations, 4.9 million eye-care screenings and has enabled over 168,000 pairs of eye glasses to be distributed across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Through Seeing is Believing, NGOs have helped move eye care up the public healthcare agenda in countries such as China, Ghana, Indonesia and South Africa.
The funds raised for Seeing is Believing have already been used to run eye-care projects in 24 countries. These projects include:
• The establishment of 40 vision centres across India, which provide a financially sustainable model to ensure consistent and long-term eye care for people in communities such as rural areas and slums who have not traditionally had this access;
• The training of over 200 mid-level ophthalmic staff in Nigeria, to increase the rate of cataract operations in Kano, Oyo and surrounding states by 50 per cent in order to help tackle a backlog of people needing surgery, resulting in 46,850 people receiving operations over three years;
• The integration of eye care into health screening in Pakistan’s schools and the development of a standard approach for such eye screenings.
Staff engagement is and continues to be an essential part of Seeing is Believing. A large number of Standard Chartered’s 87,000 employees use their paid volunteering leave to raise funds or to support eye-care NGOs by raising awareness of eye-care issues in their local communities
About Standard Chartered
Standard Chartered is a leading international banking group. It has operated for over 150 years in some of the world's most dynamic markets and earns more than 90 per cent of its profits in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
This geographic focus and commitment to developing deep relationships with clients and customers has driven the Bank’s growth in recent years. Standard Chartered PLC is listed on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges as well as the Bombay and National Stock Exchanges in India.
With 1,700 offices in 70 markets, the Group offers exciting and challenging international career opportunities for nearly 87,000 staff. It is committed to building a sustainable business over the long term and is trusted worldwide for upholding high standards of corporate governance, social responsibility, environmental protection and employee diversity. Standard Chartered’s heritage and values are expressed in its brand promise, ‘Here for good’.
About Seeing is Believing
Seeing is Believing is a global initiative to help tackle avoidable blindness, and is a collaboration between Standard Chartered and the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). IAPB is the leading umbrella organisation for non-governmental organisations working in the field of eye-care. Together with the World Health Organisation, it launched the ‘Vision 2020 – The Right to Sight’, a global campaign to eliminate avoidable blindness by 2020. To date, Seeing is Believing has raised over USD45 million for blindness initiatives and plans to raise a further USD55 million by 2020. Seeing is Believing is the single largest contributor to the development of Vision 2020 programmes through IAPB. As part of the Seeing is Believing programme, Standard Chartered pledges to match all donations until the target of USD100 million is reached.
For more information, please visit www.seeingisbelieving.org