Sightsavers has end of blinding disease in its sights

Sightsavers launched ‘The End is in Sight’ today (15 February), an ambitious appeal to fund the final push to eliminate the blinding eye disease trachoma.

Trachoma can cause blindness, trapping people in a cycle of poverty despite being preventable.

“It is now within our grasp to be part of history and stop trachoma in its tracks,” says Dr Caroline Harper, Chief Executive of Sightsavers. “This persistent disease blights the world’s poorest communities, yet it is treatable.”

Donations to the appeal, which will be doubled by the UK government, will go towards a project which aims to eliminate the disease in Tanzania.

Through working with communities at the local health facility level, Sightsavers hopes to create positive and lasting change to eye health outcomes. The focus of this project will specifically target people with disabilities, women and the elderly.

Find out more about ‘The End is in Sight’.

Farm Africa launches ‘Coffee is Life’ appeal

Farm Africa launched its ‘Coffee is Life’ appeal on Friday 8 February to support farmers in Uganda make a decent living from coffee farming.

Despite being Uganda’s most valuable crop, coffee farmers are struggling to get by as they lack the tools, training and bargaining power needed to grow enough coffee and sell it for a fair price. Farm Africa hope their latest project will help to improve the lives of farmers in Kanungu, Uganda.

The appeal has gained the support from the National Farmers’ Union, whose President Minette Batters and Vice President Stuart Roberts are both running the London Marathon in April to raise funds for Farm Africa.

“I’ve seen some of the truly amazing work that Farm Africa do, and it deserves our support,” says Stuart. “It’s not about money, it’s about transforming lives, because you give farmers the tools to build a business.”

The money raised will be used on a project focusing on empowering women farmers. Women provide the bulk of the low paid, unskilled labour but as the land is owned by men they receive a majority of the profit. The project will help female farmers gain access to land, set up savings associations so they have access to finance to invest in developing their businesses, and support to take on leadership roles within their local coffee cooperatives.

To find out more go to the Farm Africa website.

RNLI targets Bangladesh’s childhood drowning epidemic

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) launched its Creches for Bangladesh appeal on 4 February to combat the country’s childhood drowning epidemic, which claims the lives of 40 children a day.

The RNLI will tackle the problem through the building of community-led day care centres which has been proven to reduce the risk of drownings by 82%.

“The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has more than 120 years of life-saving experience, and through the ‘Creches for Bangladesh’ appeal their great British expertise will now change lives globally too,” says Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt.

A donation of £2.50 provides a whole month of day care for one child, and as a UK Aid Match appeal all public donations will be doubled by the UK government.

For more information or to donate to ‘Creches for Bangladesh’, visit the website.