Standard Chartered employees pledged their last hour’s pay of 2011 to a good cause, raising USD720,000 for Seeing is Believing, the Bank’s programme to tackle preventative blindness. The latest fundraising initiative will help Standard Chartered meet its target of raising USD100 million by 2020 to improve access to eye-care across its markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Standard Chartered continues to match every dollar fundraised for the programme.
Seeing is Believing was initiated by Standard Chartered employees in 2003 as a way of celebrating the Bank’s 150th anniversary. Over the years, employees have shown a deep commitment to fundraising for the programme, contributing around 70 per cent of the fundraising. As a result, Seeing is Believing has become the Group’s flagship fundraising programme, raising USD37 million so far.
Richard Meddings, Group Finance Director at Standard Chartered and Chairman of Seeing is Believing said, “Seeing is Believing continues to grow, increasing access to eye-care for millions around the world. This success is driven by the generosity of our employees, customers and suppliers. Thanks to individual staff members who have chosen to donate their last hour’s pay for 2011, we are a step closer to our commitment to raise USD100 million by 2020. While the financial figure is impressive, the impact will be much greater – by providing access to eye treatment or surgeries, we’re transforming people’s lives.”
The majority of avoidable blindness – 90 per cent of cases – occurs in the developing world affecting economic productivity in communities where the Bank operates. Providing eye-care, treatment and surgeries for affected populations enables individuals to regain their sight and, as a result, are able to work or study or better care for their families. As one of the most cost-effective health interventions (cataract operations cost on average USD 30), tackling preventable blindness was identified as a worthwhile focus for Standard Chartered’s fund raising activity.
Seeing is Believing has provided access to eye-care services to more than 25 million people since it launched in 2003. It has helped fund more than 2.7 million eye surgeries, training for more than 58,000 health care workers, 3.4 million eye-care screenings and the distribution of 126,000 pairs of eye glasses across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Through the initiative, NGOs have established 62 vision centres in India, a pioneering model of community eye-care which is being rolled out to other countries.