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FT Seasonal Appeal raises record-breaking £3.34m for Sightsavers

The Financial Times 2011-2012 Seasonal Appeal has raised £3.34 million for international development charity Sightsavers, making it the most successful appeal since the initiative began in 2005.  The funds raised will support Sightsavers in delivering its vision of a world where no one is blind from avoidable causes and where visually impaired people participate equally in society.

The appeal ran from November to the end of January, with coverage of the charity’s work in Nigeria, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Kenya appearing throughout December.

Direct reader donations raised £2.5m with match funding. A photography auction at London’s Getty Images Gallery and an online auction of dinners with FT writers raised £165,408.  In addition, the charitable global workforce of Standard Chartered donated their last hour’s pay for 2011, bringing in a further £406,599 towards Sightsavers work.

Readers saw their appeal donations matched by Standard Chartered through its community investment programme, Seeing is Believing, whilst the UK Government also matched donations made by individuals in the UK pound for pound, in recognition of their generosity towards this cause.

Sightsavers Chief Executive Caroline Harper said: “Eye care treatments are some of the most cost effective health interventions in the world.  The generosity of the Financial Times readers and our match funders, the UK Government and Standard Chartered, has exceeded all our expectations, especially in the current economic climate.  We are very grateful.  Also thank you so much to the Financial Times team for supporting our work in this way.  This money will enable us to change the futures of those in the world’s poorest countries who are blind, or at risk of blindness for the lack of access to the right treatments.”

FT Editor Lionel Barber added: “I am delighted that the FT and our generous readers and match funders have helped Sightsavers raise such a large sum – £634,000 more than in any of our previous appeals. This brings the amount our charity appeal have raised over the past six years to over £9.4m while highlighting the work of some wonderful organisations.”

Commenting on its involvement in the Seasonal Appeal, Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, said: “It’s shocking that more than 30 million people are the victims of avoidable blindness – the overwhelming majority as a direct result of poverty.  The fantastic response to the appeal shows both the generosity of the British public and its support for Sightsavers’ work in some of the poorest countries in the world.  That’s why we’re matching public donations pound for pound for this transformative work.”

Richard Meddings, Group Finance Director at Standard Chartered and Chairman of Seeing is Believing said: “Thanks to the generosity of readers, millions more people around the world will have access to needed eye treatments and surgeries that will transform their lives, enabling them to return to work or to school and better help their families.”

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. 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.

- Ends -

For more information contact:

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

Emily Gibbs
Corporate Communications Manager
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 601,269 (Deloitte assured, 3 October 2011 to 1 January 2012) and a combined print and online average daily readership of 2.1 million people worldwide (PwC assured, May 2011). FT.com has over 4.3 million registered users and 267,497 paying digital subscribers. The newspaper, printed at 22 print sites across the globe, has a global print circulation of 333,771 (ABC figures December 2011).

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