Sierra Leone’s oldest bank, Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), on Thursday joined the world in celebrating ‘World Sight Day.’
In his keynote address at the staff / customer sight session, at the SCB’s Lightfoot Boston Street headquarters, the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Idrissa Kamara said, “today, as in the past years we join the world to celebrate the World Sight Day, to support and compliment the ‘seeing is believing’ initiative.”
This initiative, established in 2003, “is driven by staff who fundraise, volunteer and raise awareness of avoidable blindness across our global network.”
Hence, Mr Kamara said, “the launch of our ‘seeing is believing’ initiative is aimed at raising $10 million by 2010 to make a difference in the lives of 10 million people across 20 countries including Sierra Leone,” adding that globally, they have reached their fundraising target.
In order to achieve the goal of this initiative which focuses on prevention, education, and sight restoration, the acting CEO said, “we have partnered with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), the World Health Organization (WHO), Vision 2020, Sight Savers International, Christian Blind Mission and Helen Keller International.”
Speaking on this year’s theme: ‘Vision for Children’ the CEO said, “SCB recognizes the fact that there are 37 million blind people in the world, and a further 161 million people who are visually impaired. Children make up a significant proportion of this population.”
Notwithstanding the deplorable state of vision in developing countries, Mr Kamara who sounded optimistic said, “however, the bank is aware that 75% of the World’s Blindness is preventable and curable and that 90% occurred in countries were the bank is having a strong link.”
The guest speaker of the sight session emeritus Professor Eldred Jones who lost his sight at the age of 60 congratulated the SCB management for taking the initiative of celebrating the world sight week with series of events “particularly for involving the blind in these celebration.”
“Our country is far behind in providing for the handicap and we must strive to provide equal opportunities in all areas of life for them,” said Professor Jones.
The bank today, he continued, “has shown its concern for the Blind and I hope they will keep it up … and show it in other practical ways.”
The session was climaxed by soul searching songs from the Blind School Choir.