Christian Blind Mission – UK Government will match all public donations

Overseas disability charity Christian Blind Mission (CBM) is relaunching its campaign to help people with sight problems in the world’s poorest places – and between 12th November and 17th December 2020, the UK government will match all public donations to their See the Way appeal. So every pound has double the impact!

Every day, people in the world’s poorest places become needlessly blind because of conditions that can be easily treated. Too often for people living in poverty, losing your sight also means losing the chance to go to school, live independently or earn a living. CBM’s See the Way appeal will raise funds to improve access to sight-saving surgery, glasses and support in the world’s poorest places, enabling people to attend school, read and write, get around safely and support themselves and their families.

CBM’s See the Way appeal was originally launched on 12th February and was due to continue to 12th May. But on 9th April 2020, the charity paused the appeal to focus on protecting the most vulnerable people and supporting their partners during the Coronavirus pandemic.

During the five-week appeal launching on 12th November, public donations will be doubled by the UK government, helping twice as many people to See the Wayto a brighter future this Christmas. Gifts from the public will support CBM’s work preventing blindness and transforming lives wherever the need is greatest, while match funding from the UK government will improve access to sight-saving eye-health services in Malawi 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.
  • ensuring people with low-vision can access glasses and support, so they can go to school, earn a living and be active in their communities.
  • training local staff, equipping hospitals and strengthening eye health systems to ensure the maximum long-term and sustainable benefit.

From 12th November-17th December 2020, all public donations to the See the Way appeal up to £2 million will be doubled by the UK government, so:

  • £20 would become £40, which can buy a school sight-test pack so children’s vision problems can be identified early.
  • £24 would become £48, helping to give sight to an adult blind in both eyes.
  • £60 would become £120 to help train a teacher to show them how to meet the needs of children who struggle to see.

Kirsty Smith, Chief Executive for CBM UK, said:

“It is so wrong that men, women and children are losing their sight just because they are poor. But for many people in countries like Malawi, treatment for blinding conditions like cataracts is out of reach. Cataracts is the leading cause of blindness in Malawi, but less than half of blind people who need cataract surgery have access to it.

This appeal will ensure that people with this and other sight problems are able to receive the treatment and support they need. And thanks to the UK Aid Match scheme, every pound donated between now and 12th May will be doubled by the UK government so we can have twice the impact!”

Mitchelle’s story

“I want to become a doctor when I grow up.”

Mitchelle used to love books, but reading has become a struggle because of her vision problems. She squints and holds the books right up to her eyes in an attempt to see the words on the pages and pictures, which she used to love looking at.

When it’s sunny, Mitchelle started to shield her eyes using her palms. The cataracts causing her sight to deteriorate also make the eyes painful in bright light. The children in her neighbourhood have often refused to play with her and called her names.

Mitchelle’s mother, Barbra, realised there was something wrong with Mitchelle’s sight when she turned 2 years old. She started blinking constantly and bumping into nearby objects. It became worse over the course of a year and so Barbra took Mitchelle to the local clinic to be examined. She was prescribed with eye drops but there was no improvement to her sight. Barbra tried using traditional herbs to heal her daughter, but Mitchelle’s sight continued to deteriorate.

“I feel bad seeing my child’s sight deteriorating when I cannot help. I think Mitchelle will soon become totally blind and she will remain dependant on others for survival.”

says Barbra.

Just £95 is all it is takes to restore sight to a child with cataracts, helping them to See the Way to a brighter future this Christmas.

To donate or find out more, visit www.seetheway.org

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