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2018 in review: what we achieved

The past year has been momentous for Sightsavers: we’ve reached some incredible milestones and have changed millions more lives around the world.

December 2018
School children in Sierra Leone smile at the camera.
Caroline Harper speaks at TED2018.

April

Sightsavers CEO Caroline Harper presented a TED Talk at the TED 2018 conference in Vancouver, pitching an ambitious plan to eliminate blinding trachoma with support from some of the world’s leading philanthropists. The video of her talk was later named ‘TED of the Day’ and has been viewed more than a million times. Read about the TED Talk

Junior Painter judge PJ Lynch meets budding young artists.

April

Junior Painter judge PJ Lynch meets budding young artists.

Sightsavers Ireland announced the winners of its annual Junior Painter competition, which encourages primary school children to create an artwork that promotes equality for people with disabilities. Judges chose three national winners from a shortlist of 15 finalists. See the winning pictures

A child receives medicine in Yemen.

May

Sightsavers began working in Yemen, distributing antibiotics to treat trachoma – the first time a project of this kind has taken place in the country. More than 4,000 mainly female volunteers went door to door to give out more than 444,000 doses of Zithromax®. Trachoma treatment in Yemen

Children smile at the camera after the final trachoma treatment campaign in Yendi, northern Ghana.

June

Children smile at the camera after the final trachoma treatment campaign in Yendi, northern Ghana.

Ghana became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate trachoma, as validated by the World Health Organization. Ghana’s breakthrough achievement shows that eliminating the disease is possible, and will pave the way for other countries to follow. Read about elimination in Ghana

Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame.

June

Gertrude Oforiwa Fefoame, Sightsavers’ advocacy adviser for social inclusion, was elected to the United Nations disability committee. She was one of six women to join the committee, which previously had just one woman. Her election was part of Sightsavers’ #EqualUN campaign to improve gender balance. Read about #EqualUN and Getty’s achievement

A close-up of a researcher's hands as they write data onto a sheet of paper.

June

A close-up of a researcher's hands as they write data onto a sheet of paper.

Sightsavers launched a new online portal to showcase our research projects to academics, research institutions and policy makers. One of our papers was also selected as one of 50 outstanding abstracts at the World Ophthalmology Congress in Barcelona. Visit the research website

July

The UK hosted the world’s first Global Disability Summit, and Sightsavers’ #MakeItCount campaign called on world leaders to make sure people with disabilities are included in global development. At the summit, more than 170 commitments to disability-inclusive development were made to improve the lives of people with disabilities. About the summit

A trichiasis patient lies on a table outside his home, while a surgeon operates on his eyes.

August

A trichiasis patient lies on a table outside his home, while a surgeon operates on his eyes.

A photo taken by Peter Nicholls to document Sightsavers’ work in Ghana was awarded first prize in the International Trachoma Initiative’s photo competition. Peter’s image shows trachoma patient Abdul-Rahman Neindow being operated on outside his house in Ghana. More on the competition

A close-up of Naheed's face, with her cataract clearly visible.

September

Our one millionth cataract operation was carried out as part of the Million Miracles appeal, marking the end of a hugely successful appeal that raised almost £32 million over three years to fund cataract operations. Naheed, from Pakistan, was one of the people whose sight was restored as a result of the campaign. More about A Million Miracles

Blue Peter's Sight Savers appeal.

October

Blue Peter's Sight Savers appeal.

British children’s TV programme Blue Peter celebrated its 60th birthday on 16 October with an anniversary edition, and Sightsavers marked the occasion by looking back at Blue Peter’s 'Sight Saver' fundraising appeal from 1986 that gave us our name. Read about Sightsavers and Blue Peter

Close-up of Pumelo standing in his village.

October

Sightsavers Sweden launched the ‘Punkt Slut’ (‘End now’) campaign to raise money to eliminate trachoma. The money raised will help to provide essential antibiotics for children such as Pumelo to ensure they don’t go blind from trachoma. About Punkt Slut (in Swedish)

A health worker gives a schoolgirl a tablet to protect against intestinal worms.

November

A health worker gives a schoolgirl a tablet to protect against intestinal worms.

For the third year running, Sightsavers was named one of GiveWell’s top charities for our work treating children for intestinal worms in sub-Saharan Africa. GiveWell is a non-profit organisation that carries out in-depth analysis to find and recommend outstanding charities that offer the best value for money. Sightsavers and GiveWell

December

A $105 million fund to eliminate trachoma, set up by philanthropists including Richard Branson, was unveiled at the Global Citizen concert in South Africa. The money will fund the Accelerate programme, which will be led by Sightsavers and will help at least 10 African countries to eliminate trachoma by 2023. Read about the announcement

Monica Friday photographed in her classroom on the first day of her plumbing course at the Nile Vocational Training Institute in Hoima, Uganda. She is dressed in blue overalls and holding a wrench.

December

Monica Friday photographed in her classroom on the first day of her plumbing course at the Nile Vocational Training Institute in Hoima, Uganda. She is dressed in blue overalls and holding a wrench.

Sightsavers celebrated the fifth birthday of its Put Us in the Picture disability campaign. The campaign, launched in 2013, calls on the UK government to make sure people with disabilities in developing countries have the same opportunities in life as everyone else. About the celebrations

Read all our latest news stories

News from Sightsavers
A close up photograph of someone's hand running over a sheet of braille.
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Tanzania joins the push to make accessible books more widely available

It has become the latest country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty, which allows exceptions to standard copyright laws so books can be reproduced in braille and other accessible formats.

September 2019
A still from Sightsavers' film with ITN, showing presenter Natasha Kaplinsky alongside the Sightsavers logo.
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Sightsavers’ work to fight disease features in new video

The video, introduced by newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky, includes a segment on Sightsavers' work to tackle schistosomiasis in Guinea-Bissau.

September 2019
Muhammed, who has lymphatic filariasis, with health worker Suraji in Nigeria.
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New health programme will protect 200 million people from disease

The Ascend programme, which Sightsavers is leading, aims to tackle six of the world’s worst diseases in 25 countries.

September 2019

Learn about our work to save sight