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20 February, 2019 - 12:08 By Tony Quested

Blind faith: Government backs Cambridge fight against global sight problems

Cambridge-based overseas disability charity CBM has launched a new campaign to help people with sight problems in the world’s poorest places – and between now and  May 14 the UK government will match all public donations to their See the Way appeal.   

The double your money move under the UK Aid Match initiative was clinched by a joint submission to the Government by CBM and Business Weekly.

Every day, people become needlessly blind because of conditions that can be easily treated. Too often for people living in poverty, losing their sight also means losing the chance to go to school, to live independently or earn a living. 

CBM’s ‘See the Way’ appeal will raise funds to improve access to sight-saving surgery, glasses and support in the world’s poorest places, enabling people to attend school, read and write, get around safely and support themselves and their families.  

CBM UK has partnered with Cambridge companies to help raise awareness of the appeal and we are urging company employees across the UK to initiate fund-raising activities in quickfire time to ensure we maximise this once in a lifetime opportunity.

Public donations to this appeal will support CBM’s work preventing blindness and transforming lives wherever the need is greatest. Match funding from the UK government will improve access to sight-saving eye-health services in Rwanda by: -

  • Improving access to sight-restoring cataract surgery and treatment for blinding conditions like glaucoma 
  • Reaching people at risk of blindness in remote areas, far from the nearest eye hospital, helping them access treatment before it is too late 
  • Ensuring people with low-vision can access glasses and support, so they can go to school, earn a living and be active in their communities 
  • Training local staff, equipping hospitals and strengthening eye health systems to ensure the maximum long-term and sustainable benefit. 

Up until May 14 all public donations to the See the Way appeal up to £2 million will be doubled by the UK government, so:- 

  • £12 would become £24, which could fund a sight-restoring cataract surgery for an adult 
  • £20 would become £40, which could buy a school sight-test pack so children’s vision problems can be identified and treated
  • £95 would become £180, which could fund sight-restoring cataract surgery in both eyes for a child, under general anaesthetic. 

Kirsty Smith, chief Executive for CBM UK, said:  “It’s shocking to think that men, women and children are losing their sight just because they are poor. 

“But for many people in countries like Rwanda, treatment for blinding conditions like cataracts is out of reach. This appeal will help change that, helping people with sight problems access the treatment and support they need.” 

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “Some of Rwanda’s most vulnerable people are still living with avoidable blindness and visual impairments. 

“Too often it is these treatable illnesses that stop these people from accessing education and earning a living. By providing access to basic eye health services the UK Aid Match ‘See the Way’ appeal will change lives across Rwanda for generations and this is only possible with the generosity and support of the Great British public.” 

• To donate or find out more, visit www.SeeTheWay.org

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