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18 February, 2021 - 09:50 By Tony Quested

Cambridge launches fight to save the sight of thousands

Business Weekly has joined a campaign to ensure Cambridge-based global disability charity CBM raises crucial cash to help save or restore the sight of thousands of vulnerable people in the world’s poorest places.

The new ‘Light up Lives’ appeal is raising money between today (February 18) and May 20 – and the UK government will match all public donations to double the value of the appeal. 

Every day, people in the world’s poorest places become needlessly blind because of conditions that could easily be treated. For them vital eye health services are simply out of reach.

Too often for people living in poverty, losing their sight also means losing the chance to go to school, live independently or earn a living.

Several local organisations have committed to help the charity raise awareness and funds of the appeal: Besides Business Weekly these include the Cambridge Independent and Cambridge 105 radio, childcare provider Club 4 U and One Leisure in St Ives; St James’ Church, Hemingford Grey and Great St Mary’s Church in Cambridge; Diocese of Peterborough Mission and Ministry Centre and Michael house Café and Centre in Cambridge.

Kirsty Smith, chief executive of CBM UK, says: “We’re so grateful for these amazing local partners who, even in these tough times are doing what they can to help people living in the poorest parts of the world. But we need so much more in terms of securing financial support and spreading the word.

“Worldwide three out of four people who are blind don’t need to be – that’s shocking. And the Coronavirus pandemic is making it even harder for people with sight problems to access treatment and support in most countries. 

“Great local support from organisations and individuals here in Cambridgeshire plus the UK government pledging to double all public donations to the Light up Lives appeal until May 20, really increases the chances that we’ll raise the funds required to restore sight to thousands of people. A sight-restoring operation can cost as little as £24, but can truly light up someone’s life forever.”

Donations to CBM’s appeal will help Light up Lives for people living in the world’s poorest places 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
  • Providing glasses and support to people with low vision so they can go to school, earn a living and be active in their communities
  • Equipping hospitals, training local staff and partnering with local organisations to strengthen eye health systems to ensure the maximum long-term benefit.

You can donate by visiting or by calling 0800 567 7000.

• PHOTOGRAPH: Ruvimbo, aged 3, having an eye examination after sight-restoring cataract surgery at CBM’s partner hospital in Zimbabwe. ©CBM/Diemer.

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