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Financial Times looks to Sightsavers for its Seasonal Appeal

The Financial Times has selected international development charity Sightsavers for its 2011-2012 seasonal appeal to readers.

The seasonal appeal, which runs from November to mid-January, has raised £6m in the past five years for its featured charities.  Sightsavers, chosen for this year’s appeal by a worldwide staff vote, aims to change the lives of some of the 39 million people in the world who are blind, focusing on developing countries including Bangladesh, Nigeria and Pakistan. The organisation has a vision of a world where no one is blind from avoidable causes and where visually impaired people participate equally in society.

The appeal will officially launch on 30 November at a photography auction at London’s Getty Gallery, with all proceeds going to the charity.  Articles will appear in the newspaper and online at www.ft.com/appeal.

Lionel Barber, the FT’s editor, said: “The FT is delighted to be partnering with Sightsavers for this year’s appeal.  It is a critical time to be generating support, as current economic difficulties mean the vulnerable populations Sightsavers works with face increasing hardship.  We look forward to visiting some of the countries where the charity operates to bring their work to life through extensive editorial coverage, both in print and online.”

Sightsavers chief executive, Caroline Harper, said: “We are so excited to have been selected to partner with the Financial Times, as it will enable us to change the futures of those in the world’s poorest countries who are blind for the lack of access to simple and cost-effective treatments. It can cost us as little as £17 to restore the sight of someone living with blindness and in doing so we can transform the lives of that individual, their family and even their community.”

Sightsavers works in more than 30 developing countries to prevent and cure blindness, and to support those who are visually impaired through education and training. Working with its local partners, in 2010 Sightsavers protected over 23 million people against river blindness; performed over 270,000 sight-restoring cataract operations; and treated over one million people for trachoma.  It also supports the vital training of health professionals, the promotion of independence for people who are blind and inclusive education for blind and visually impaired children.

To double the impact of the appeal, Standard Chartered , which has strongly supported Sightsavers in its fight against avoidable blindness over the last ten years, has generously agreed to match all donations through its long-standing community investment programme, Seeing is Believing. This means that for every £1 donated another £1 will be given by Seeing is Believing, helping Sightsavers to bring vital eye services to some of the poorest communities in the world.

- Ends -

For more information contact

Rachel Heald
Sightsavers media team
T: + 01444 446754/ 07775 928253
E: press@sightsavers.org

Tom Glover
Deputy Director of Communications
T: +44 (0) 207 775 6840
E: tom.glover@ft.com

Emily Gibbs
Communications Executive
T: +44 (0) 20 7 873 3184
E: emily.gibbs@ft.com

About Sightsavers

1.   Sightsavers is a registered UK charity (Registered charity numbers 207544 and SC038110) that works in more than 30 developing countries to prevent blindness, restore sight and advocate for social inclusion and equal rights for people who are blind and visually impaired.  www.sightsavers.org
2.   There are 39 million blind people in the world; 80% of all blindness can be prevented or cured.
3.   In the six decades since its foundation, Sightsavers has:

  • Treated over 206.8 million people for blinding and potentially blinding conditions

  • Carried out over 7.1 million operations to restore sight

  • Trained almost 0.5 million primary eye care workers

  • Carried out rehabilitation training to 91,000 people

About the Financial Times: 

The Financial Times, one of the world’s leading business news organisations, is recognised internationally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. Providing essential news, comment, data and analysis for the global business community, the FT has a combined paid print and digital circulation of 585,681 (Deloitte assured, 4 April 2011 to 3 July 2011) and a combined print and online average daily readership of 2.1 million people worldwide (PwC assured, November 2010). FT.com has over 3.7 million registered users and 229,000 paying digital subscribers. The newspaper, printed at 26 print sites across the globe, has a global print circulation of 336,590 (ABC, July 2011).

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