Saturday, 20 April 2024
Saturday, 20 April 2024

Illuminating Vision: Unite for Change on World Sight Day

By Shalni Sood, Director of Philanthropy at the Royal Society for Blind Children

We all know that donors – whether that be individuals or corporates – respond in times of crisis. Smaller charities, perhaps lacking the resources to get their message across in expensive campaigns, need to be able to tell their story and demonstrate the everyday ‘need’. Often, as with so many things in life, much can depend on who they know and who they can get in front of. When they break through, the relationships they make can be transformative.

Fundraising has become more challenging and in building a relationship with a potential philanthropic partner, being able to demonstrate sound impact data is an important building block. Real impact is rarely delivered in the short term – though it is not impossible.

My current focus is on World Sight Day which happens annually on Thursday 12th October and through my work with RSBC I’ve learned that 2 million people in the UK are living with sight loss and every six minutes, someone’s world is altered by the revelation that they are losing their sight. 37, 000 children and their families are living with sight loss in England and Wales.

Behind every statistic are the people: sight loss doesn’t just impact individuals; it reverberates through families, communities, and societies at large.

The Royal Society for Blind Children (RSBC) understands this complex symphony of emotions, and our upcoming fundraising initiative, aligned with the global observance of World Sight Day on October 12th, encourages us all to contribute our support to recognising the crucial importance of maintaining good eye health at work.

Statistics tell us that one in every five individuals will face significant sight loss at some point in their lives. These are not just numbers; they are stories etched in each person’s struggle to adapt and move forward.

On World Sight Day, the RSBC’s innovative fundraising initiative takes the form of a digital mosaic art piece composed of thousands of images of eyes. This creation celebrates the spectrum of human vision while paying tribute to the uniqueness of each eye. 

This campaign goes beyond mere visuals—it urges schools, businesses, communities, and individuals worldwide to be mindful, not only in evaluating their eye health but also in supporting those who face the challenge of sight loss head-on.

By participating in the #loveyoureyes campaign, we become the architects of change for blind and partially sighted babies, children, young people, and their families. The goal? An ambitious £100,000 to further RSBC’s remarkable work.

We are delighted that several corporate organisations are already supporting our campaign. This includes Kroll, Tata Consultancy Services, This is Milk, Zen Internet, Triodos Bank and Gresham House.

Participating is as easy as donating £5, £10, £20, or an amount that resonates with you, and then sharing an image of your own eyes with the RSBC at worldsightday@rsbc.org.uk. 

Donations can be made via JustGiving.

Organisations, regardless of size, and individuals, regardless of background, can make a real difference in the lives of blind and partially sighted children. This campaign not only fosters inclusivity and diversity within workplaces but also underscores the significance of eye health awareness, particularly when we are at work.

The staggering statistic that ‘1 million people are living with avoidable sight loss and eye conditions are costing the UK economy a staggering £25.2 billion a year’ serves as a clarion call for change. 

In the realm of change-makers, notable voices have risen in support of RSBC’s vision. Dame Judi Dench, Jon Culshaw, Doug Allan, Anna Campbell Jones, Chris Brookyre, Nicola Stephenson and Chris McCausland lend their influence to this campaign. 

Dame Judi Dench who has had age-related macular degeneration for the last 10 years aptly remarks, ‘Our eye health is crucial and something we must invest in.’ Chris McCausland, a comedian, and TV presenter who himself is registered blind, amplifies the significance of support, sharing, ‘Supporting the Royal Society for Blind Children’s campaign for World Sight Day couldn’t be simpler. As somebody who is blind, I know first-hand how important it is to receive support when you receive a diagnosis of visual impairment or blindness. Please help if you can!’

Let us embrace our shared responsibility, and together, illuminate lives and keep an eye on our ocular health for today, and tomorrow.

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