Community investment

Seeing is Believing

Seeing is Believing is our global programme to help tackle preventable and curable blindness. We launched the programme to celebrate our 150th anniversary in 2003, and by the end of 2008, it had reached over five million people in 17 countries, contributing to over two million sight restorations.

In 2008, we launched A New Vision, our latest commitment to Seeing is Believing. We will invest a further $20 million to provide sustainable eye-care services for 20 million people in deprived communities in 20 cities.

Our contribution

A New Vision marks an evolution in our strategy as we progress from funding surgeries and medicine to developing systems and processes to ensure the long-term sustainability of the programme. This builds on the Bank’s strengths and more closely integrates Seeing is Believing with our business and brand. The move responds to feedback from our partners, the International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

We take an active role in Seeing is Believing projects. For example, we work closely with the IAPB to develop our strategy on how we can best meet the eye-care needs of local communities and work together to select the projects which meet these needs. All Seeing is Believing projects are developed in partnership with the Bank’s country teams and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

In each country we have a Seeing is Believing co-ordinator to manage the relationships with local NGO partners. Country CEOs ensure projects are visited twice a year and are required to approve projects during the planning phase. Many employees support Seeing is Believing by volunteering their time and professional skills to help on projects, as well as fundraising.

In 2008, we surveyed employee opinions on Seeing is Believing in eight countries. The feedback was positive, showing that 87 per cent of employees feel Seeing is Believing is closely linked with the Standard Chartered brand, 44 per cent of employees have been personally involved in the programme with 92 per cent of those saying it makes them proud to work for the Bank.

Seeing is Believing credit cards

We launched the first Seeing is Believing credit cards in Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2008, following a successful launch in Thailand in 2007. The cards are an example of how we are using our core expertise to support the programme and integrate it with our business. Card users in Sri Lanka can donate their loyalty points from purchases to Seeing is Believing, which Standard Chartered matches.

Volunteering and improving eye-care services in Dhaka

Eye hospital sees benefits of volunteers

Standard Chartered volunteers saved Islamia Eye Hospital in Dhaka thousands of dollars, using their core skills to advise on an upgrade of their information technology systems. Other Standard Chartered employees spent a day volunteering by assisting doctors, answering patients’ queries and accompanying them to and from the hospital.

The hospital is one of four in the Bangladeshi capital to benefit from a five-year partnership with Seeing is Believing. The partnership will fund corrective surgeries, along with improved training for hospital staff and better eye-care support services for over 270,000 visually impaired people in the city. Dhaka is one of 20 cities across the world to receive support as part of A New Vision.

For more information visit the Seeing is Believing website (

View the 2009 Community Investment Summary presentation


  • $20 millionpledged to Seeing is Believing – A New Vision
  • 17countries benefiting from eye care programmes
  • 2 millionpeople’s vision restored