SCF and MOH collaboration enables sight restoration for underprivileged individuals

KUALA ROMPIN, 2nd June 2016: As kindness, empathy and compassion are treasured values in our culture, remembering the less privileged during the month of Ramadan brings deeper meaning to the festive occasion. In the spirit of giving, Standard Chartered Foundation (SCF) raised funds to help restore the sight of underprivileged individuals through its ‘Seeing is Believing’ (SiB) sustainability pillar which aims to tackle avoidable blindness.

Premised on the foundation’s holistic and community-driven approach towards creating a sustainable impact, SCF collaborated with the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) in a three-year Intraocular Lens (IOL) project, bringing eye care support to underprivileged communities in the rural areas of Malaysia, particularly Sabah, Sarawak and the East Coast. Ophthalmology experts from MOH’s ‘Klinik Katarak 1Malaysia’ programme were on hand to conduct the cataract surgeries in Kuala Rompin, Pahang.

Nimmi Kamal, Country Head of Corporate Affairs, Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia and Trustee of SCF, said, “By giving back to the community, we hope that we have touched the lives of those who are less fortunate. Through the SiB initiative, we will certainly continue to fund projects in poor communities where access to affordable and quality eye care is low.”

The collaboration between SCF and MOH (2013-2015) has brought eye care support, specifically cataract lenses and surgeries, to over 80,000 underprivileged Malaysians, where the foundation initially targeted 3,000 needy cataract patients. Within the three years, RM1.5 million has been invested on quality lenses and over 4,000 successful surgeries have been performed around the country by end of 2015.

Acting as the charity arm for Standard Chartered Bank Malaysia, SCF has been at the forefront of causes that are integral to Standard Chartered’s brand promise, ‘Here for Good’. The foundation believes that SiB should yield a positive and favourable social impact to the Malaysian community at large.

Nimmi added, “Besides helping to overcome avoidable blindness, SiB also provides support to people who are incurably blind to better integrate into society. This adaptation of the global campaign, seeds from Standard Chartered’s collaboration with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and other NGOs that aim to eliminate avoidable blindness by 2020. Since 2003, SiB reached out to more than 111 million people globally whilst providing access to eye care in their communities.”

Standard Chartered has committed to raising USD100 million for SiB by 2020, with the bank matching every dollar. As at the end of 2015, they have raised USD86.3 million globally. Standard Chartered employees are the driving force behind the success of ‘Seeing is Believing’. Not only do employees volunteer for local eye-care projects, they also contribute about 50 percent of the total funds raised.

In ensuring a continuous community engagement, SCF relies on the availability of funds to sustain its various missions to benefit the less fortunate. The foundation’s effort to raise funds will be further intensified through its participation in this year’s edition of the Standard Chartered KL Marathon’s (SCKLM) ‘Run for a Reason’ (RFAR) charity initiative. Funds collected from RFAR will be channelled towards the IOL Project.

Rainer Biemans, Director of Dirigo Events Sdn. Bhd., Event Owner and Organiser of SCKLM, said, “Giving back is an integral part of what motivates us as a company, and as individuals. Every year, we aspire to provide SCKLM participants with an experience of more than just running. With the primary vision of bringing together runners and individuals from all walks of life to run and raise funds for a good cause, we believe that this serves as an encouraging platform for the public to contribute to a positive and social growth through a number of community and health initiatives.”

Cataract patients waiting for their post-surgery eye check up.

A volunteer from the Bank assisting with simple eye-care procedures.

Patients receiving their post-surgery cataract eye treatment to ensure no re-occurrence of cataract.

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