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October 11, 2018

Today Marks World Sight Day

On the occasion of World Sight day, here’s what Deutsche Bank’s Middle East Foundation has been doing to help combat blindness.

World Sight Day is a global event observed on the second Thursday of October each year that focuses on bringing attention to blindness and vision impairment. Statistics state that 75% of sight loss can be cured or prevented, which is why the Deutsche Bank Middle East Foundation wanted to play its part in reducing avoidable blindness; and so a collaboration with International NGO Sightsavers began.

Sightsavers, originally known as the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, was founded in 1950 and focuses on low and middle income countries in Africa and Asia. As an non-profit organization, Sightsavers’ main objectives are to prevent avoidable blindness in some of the poorest countries, promote equal opportunities for people with disabilities, work with governments to tackle the problems at the root of avoidable blindness, and work with local communities to support people who need it most.

In 2017, Sightsavers carried out more than 14 million eye examinations across the countries where they operate, and distributed more than 157 million treatments to prevent and treat debilitating diseases.
Untreated eye conditions such as cataracts affect millions of people in Pakistan. With Deutsche Bank’s Middle East foundation funding, a total of 200 cataract surgeries were successfully performed in the Arifwala and Lar districts of the Punjab province in Pakistan. Here are just a few stories about the patients that were supported with cataract surgeries through Sightsavers DB-sponsored programme:

  • Fozia is a 21-year-old seamstress living in the Lar district of the Punjab province in Pakistan. The eldest of four siblings she assumed responsibility of her family from an early age when her mother passed away. With the little income Fozia makes through sewing for women in her neighborhood, she supports her siblings’ school fees and daily needs. Fozia was recently diagnosed with a cataract and could no longer work and provide for her family.


  • 50 year-old Jafferan has five children. She was widowed 15 years ago when her husband passed away in an accident and her children, young at the time, were solely dependent on her. Jafferan took a loan from her family and started a small ‘Kirana’ (grocery) store in her house - she was earning just enough to put food on the table for her children and a roof over their heads. Jafferan started experiencing difficulty in seeing and grew worried she would not be able to work and would burden her children.


  • Ghulam is a 41-year-old father of eight and labourer - the only breadwinner for the family. Orphaned as a child, Ghulam’s love for his children is so great that he often takes double shifts in order to make ends meet.  Stress and financial hardships seem to have taken a toll on Yaseen as his vision started to diminish a few years ago and eventually it started to impact his work. Panicked, Yaseen first sought to treat it at home, through different homemade ointments and various exercises – but nothing worked.

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Watch this space!

The Middle East Foundation is also supporting various other interesting projects across the region. We’re partnering with the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) in Palestine, PACES in the Levant, the American University in Cairo, the Disabled Children’s Association in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Jinnah Hospital and Special Children’s Educational Institute in Pakistan, and finally with Volunteer Vision (for an exciting Refugee Mentorship Programme). Watch this space to find out more soon!


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Last Update: October 16, 2018
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