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March 2019 updates: highlights from around the world

March 2019
A group of children from Zambia smile while gathered round a wooden cart.

Middle East

Sightsavers hosts fundraising gala and auction in Dubai

Pakistani music star Sajjad Ali and TV journalist Sidra Iqbal were among the high-profile guests who attended Sightsavers’ recent fundraising gala in the UAE.

The event, at the Taj Dubai hotel, welcomed 120 guests for an evening of music from Ali and fellow Pakistani singer Lucky Ali, plus an auction of artworks by Pakistani and Indian artists based in Dubai. The auction was hosted by Tom Urquhart, a TV host and DJ on local radio station Dubai Eye.

The evening was organised with the help of Sightsavers Head of Partnerships in the Middle East, Haya Mashhood, who is based in Sightsavers’ Dubai office. The event aimed to raise awareness about Sightsavers in the Middle East, build relationships with local businesspeople, and raise money to provide cataract surgery in Pakistan. More about Sightsavers Middle East

Sierra Leone

Sightsavers team receive ‘Outstanding NGO’ award

Sightsavers has been named ‘Outstanding International NGO’ at an award ceremony in the Sierra Leone capital, Freetown.

The ceremony, which took place at the Golden Tulip Hotel, recognises the Sierra Leone team’s hard work supporting our partners and beneficiaries in the country. It was part of the annual Sierra Leone NGO Awards. More from Sierra Leone

Idrissa Kanjay with the award.
The award was presented to Idrissa Kanjay from Sightsavers’ Sierra Leone office.


Women-only eye screening held near Nampula

A targeted eye screening for women was held in Nampula in northeast Mozambique on 8 March, to coincide with International Women’s Day.

The screening was part of an inclusive eye health project in the region to target marginalised groups including women and people with disabilities. It took place in the health centre in Muacoche community, about 15km from Nampula city – an area that is difficult to reach because of poor roads and lack of public transport. The screening was funded by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

In total, 208 women were screened for eye conditions, of which 20 were diagnosed with cataracts and referred for further treatment. More from Mozambique

A group of women gather to have their eyes checked.
In total, 208 women had their eyes examined during the screening.


Seeing is Believing project helps to save children’s sight

Eight children have had cataract surgery to restore their sight in the Petauke and Isoka districts. The four boys and four girls, aged six months to 12 years, were diagnosed with cataracts after outreach screening in their communities.

Four of them were on the verge of dropping out of school because of their sight loss, but after surgery they have been able to continue their education.

As part of the project, more than 2,000 children have had their eyes screened. Spectacles were given to 72 students to improve their vision, while 42 teachers have been trained to test students’ eyes and refer them for further treatment if needed. More from Zambia

Sierra Leone

Hundreds of children with disabilities enrolled in school

Sightsavers’ work to raise awareness about inclusive education has enabled 811 children with disabilities to go to school.

A total of 45 schools across the country have welcomed children with disabilities, enabling them to receive an education alongside their peers.

The move is part of Sightsavers’ Education for All project, which runs awareness campaigns including radio discussions and community meetings about the importance of disability inclusion.

A workshop was also organised for lecturers from teacher training colleges to see how the curriculum can be more inclusive of children with disabilities. The project has been funded by the European Union. More from Sierra Leone

A teacher stands at the front of the class in Sierra Leone.
Gbendembu Primary School in Bombali district is one of the schools now welcoming children with disabilities.

Read about our work around the world

Where we work

More stories from the field

Angeshita smiles broadly.
Sightsavers stories

“I’m a living testimony of cataract surgery”

When Angeshita regained her independence after her eye operation, so did her family. After caring for her for several years. they are now able to return to school and work, giving them all hope for the future.

An eye health doctor wearing a smart white shirt and sunglasses.
Sightsavers stories

Eye health hero: Alinafe cuts the queues

Learn about one man's mission to make a difference in his community in rural Malawi by training as an eye health specialist. Now, long queues at the eye clinic are a thing of the past.

A female community drug distributor measures a girl to see how much medication she needs to protect her from trachoma.
Sightsavers stories

“Our programme has transformed communities”

Now in its sixth year, the Accelerate programme has already delivered 53 million treatments to protect people from trachoma, and managed 91,000 advanced cases of the disease.

Learn about our work to save sight