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CBM See the Way appeal tops £1.8m

Overseas disability charity Christian Blind Mission has raised over £1.8 million for their See the Way appeal to help people with sight problems in the world’s poorest places to See the Way to a brighter future.

Between 15 February and 14 May 2019 generous supporters donated an amazing £845,000 to help people in the world’s poorest places See the Way to a brighter future – and every pound was then doubled by the UK government. This match funding, combined with Gift Aid, takes the appeal total to an incredible £1.8 million.

The funds raised will help people with sight problems access sight-saving surgery, glasses and support, enabling them to go to school, get around safely and support themselves and their families. Every day, people in the world’s poorest places become needlessly blind because of conditions that can be easily treated, like cataracts. And too often, if you live in a poor community, losing your sight also means losing the chance to go to school, live independently or earn a living. 

Match funding from the UK government will be used to deliver eye health services in rural Rwanda. Public donations will support CBM’s work preventing blindness and transforming lives wherever the need is greatest.

International Development Minister Andrew Murrison said: “Improving access to eye health services for people living with cataracts and other sight problems in rural Rwanda not only reduces blindness and visual impairment, it helps people with sight problems to earn a living which boosts economic productivity.

"I am delighted the UK government has matched £844,684.85 to CBM’s See the Way appeal, helping to raise a total of £1,847,343.92. CBM’s work is making a significant and lasting difference.”

Kirsty Smith, Chief Executive for CBM UK, said: “We’re so incredibly grateful to all the wonderful people around the country who have helped make this appeal such a success – through your fundraising activities, your prayers and your generous gifts. Just a few months ago, I met people in Rwanda who were facing a future of needless blindness because the nearest eye hospital was just too far away. But thanks to you, we’ll be able to deliver sight-saving treatment to tens of thousands of people like those I met in rural areas, helping to ensure that nobody loses their sight simply because they live in poverty.”

Worldwide, an incredible 3 out of 4 people who are blind don’t need to be. Match funding from the UK government will support a project starting in October 2019 to improve access to sight-saving eye health services for more than 385,000 people in four rural districts of Rwanda – so people don’t have to travel across the country to access a specialist eye hospital.

CBM will:

Train and equip eye health workers to deliver sight-saving services at District Hospitals, including two ophthalmologists, eight theatre nurses and eight ophthalmic clinical officers.

Provide vital equipment to four district hospitals so they are better able to identify and treat conditions like glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy.

Deliver cataract outreach camps, supporting eye surgeons and other specialists from CBM partner hospital Kabgayi Eye Unit, to travel to rural areas four times a year and carry out surgeries and other specialist services for people unable to travel to the eye hospital.

Case study:

Salomé (main photo) had been living needlessly blind for two years. Time and again she tried to get treatment, but was unable to make the long journey to the nearest hospital. She could not walk alone and the cost of a bus fare was more than she and her daughter could afford. But thanks to CBM supporters, Salomé had sight-restoring cataract surgery at our partner hospital in Rwanda and her life has been transformed. She can now see the faces of her grandchildren and support her family again.

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