Bandar Seri Begawan - Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) Brunei yesterday presented a cheque worth B$35,156 from proceeds of the bank's 8-Minutes Service Pledge towards the 'Seeing is Believing' campaign.
The mock cheque was presented to Dr Dyg Hjh Norlila Dato Paduka Hj Abdul Jalil, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Professional & Technical) at the Ministry of Health by Jennifer Kang, Head of Corporate Affairs and Marketing of SCB.
The event took place at SCB Manggis Branch to mark World Sight Day 2012, which featured a mini Seeing is Believing exhibition set up in partnership with the Ministry of Education's Special Education Unit (UPK), Ministry of Health's RIPAS Eye Clinic and the Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind (BDNAB). The World Sight Day is celebrated annually on the second Thursday of October to raise awareness on visual impairment.
Lai Pei-Si, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank in her speech said, "Since we launched Seeing is Believing, the funds we raised in Brunei go towards helping the visually-impaired community mainly through providing them with visual impairment aids. Many of the visual impairment aids purchased are for students and this then helps provide them with equal opportunity to excel in school.
"Some upcoming initiatives resulting from our fund raising efforts include the sponsorship of a team of bowlers from the Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind to the 2nd Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) Tenpin Bowling Championship in Taiwan in November. This sponsorship has also been supported by a group of philanthropic individuals and we thank them for working with us on this. We will also soon be launching a special Eye Glass Programme with the Eye Clinic and together with the Special Education Unit, have identified a range of visual impairment aids and equipment that will benefit the visually impaired students here," she said.
"On an ongoing basis, we also support the Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind with their office premise, provide glasses to underprivileged visually impaired students through a programme we have in place with the Special Education Unit and carry out awareness events," she added.
During the exhibition, RIPAS Eye Clinic brought along its mobile eye van and conducted free eye checks for the public.
Meanwhile, the Brunei Darussalam National Association of the Blind showcased a game of chess for the visually impaired while the Special Education Unit featured various visual impairment aids used by visually impaired individuals. Standard Chartered Bank also shared key facts and figures on visual impairment throughout the event.
The global economic cost of blindness is estimated to be US$200 billion per year. Across the globe, 39 million people are blind and 246 million people suffer from visual impairment. With 90 per cent of avoidable blindness occurring in the developing world, it is an issue which is of particular resonance in many markets where SCB operates.
Yet 80 per cent of blindness and visual impairments are avoidable (preventable or curable) and treatments are simple and cost-effective. For example, a cataract operation to restore sight only costs US$30. As a result, 20 million people have had their sight restored since 1999. To continue this momentum, Standard Chartered Bank has committed to raise US$100 million by 2020 through Seeing is Believing - its global charitable initiative run in partnership with the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).
Seeing is Believing helps to fund leading eye care organisations to deliver training projects for doctors and health workers and develop eye care infrastructure and support services for the poor. To date, Seeing is Believing has invested US$37 million in projects to restore sight, prevent blindness and educate communities about the importance of eye care, reaching up to 31 million people. Seeing is Believing has contributed to restoring the sight of over 2.8 million people.
Jeanette McKenna, Head of Seeing is Believing at Standard Chartered Bank, said, "There is a lot that remains to be done to eliminate avoidable blindness and individual organisations like Standard Chartered Bank can only be part of the solution. The aim of Vision 2020 is simple and ambitious, namely to eliminate all forms of avoidable blindness by year 2020".
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin