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20 September, 2021 - 10:31 By Tony Quested

CBM raises £2.3m to help fight blindness in Africa

Business Weekly has helped raised a record £2.3 million for Cambridge based charity CBM’s Light up Lives appeal.

Local businesses have responded brilliantly despite the pandemic to the Light Up Lives appeal to prevent blindness and restore sight in the world’s poorest places.

The total includes £1,058,862 of match funding from the UK government, which committed to match every pound given by the public through its UK Aid Match scheme. 

CBM will use the government match funding to launch a new three-year programme to improve access to vital eye health services in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has one of the highest rates of blindness in the world. A desperate shortage of trained eye health workers, ill-equipped hospitals and an economic crisis have all been worsened by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

CBM’s new project funded by the Light up Lives appeal will help to scale up access to sight-restoring cataract surgery and other treatments, so that people do not become needlessly blind. 

The charity hopes to enable more than 44,000 women, men and children with eye health problems to access good quality treatment and support.

Kirsty Smith, chief executive of CBM UK, says: “This is an amazing result that will make such a difference to people living with sight problems in the world’s poorest communities – thank you so much to all the wonderful individuals and organisations who supported the Light up Lives appeal.  “Despite the ongoing pressures of the Coronavirus pandemic, our supporters have responded with huge generosity; it’s been an inspiration to see so many people raising awareness and funds.

“Worldwide, a shocking 3 out of 4 people who are blind don’t need to be – and we know that the situation with Coronavirus is making it even harder for people with sight problems to access treatment and support, especially in countries where the health system is weak like Zimbabwe. 

“But thanks to your incredible generosity and match funding from the UK government, we will be able to train local health workers, equip hospitals and strengthen eye health systems for the future, helping build communities where nobody is needlessly blind.”

• 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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