DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, June 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Sightsavers (http://www.sightsavers.org/ and http://www.sightsavers.net/[middle_east]/sightsavers_middle_east/default.html) is pleased to announce that Her Highness Sheikha Arwa Al Qassimi has officially joined the board. A member of the royal family of Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah, HH Sheikha Arwa Al Qassimi has previously worked with Food for Change, a fundraising effort to benefit worthy causes of the donor's choice. Based in the UAE but global in its reach, Sightsavers is headed by His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.
In October 2013, Her Highness Sheikha Arwa Al Qassimi served as a sponsor of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Forum on Avoidable Blindness at the Fairmont Hotel in Dubai. The forum, opened by His Highness Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, brought together experts and representatives from fifteen local, regional and international organizations from thirteen countries. More than 200 participants discussed avoidable blindness and the role GCC has in saving and protecting the vision of people in developing countries. The event was organized by Sightsavers Middle East in partnership with the Prevention of Blindness Union (PBU).
The goal of Sightsavers is to apply the latest medical techniques to eradicate preventable and treatable visual disability. Eighty percent of the 39 million blind people in the world have preventable or curable blindness. Sightsavers began in 1950, and has since supported over 262.5 million treatments and 8.1 million operations to restore sight. Noting that the number of blind people might rise to 76 million by 2020, HH Sheikh Nahyan called for building national and community health and medical capacities in different parts of the world to treat diseases causing blindness as well as address the impact of blindness on patients so as to enable them to engage positively in community life.
Last summer, Princess Arwa Al Qassimi worked together with Sightsavers to organize "Ability of Disability – A Night of Melody" in Mumbai. The event showcased the talents of disabled artists and the nationally known Abhijeet Sawant. Her Highness also helped to organize Food for Change, a fundraiser in which global philanthropists gathered to network and contribute to social change through charitable giving. One hundred percent of all donations went to the organization of the donor's choice; beneficiary programs included those geared toward educating children, providing shelter to the elderly, subsidizing medical costs for poor patients, and rehabilitating mentally ill homeless women.
The social mission of Sightsavers is made possible by the continuing dedication and support of many individuals, including the newest member of the board, HH Sheikha Arwa Al Qassimi. Sightsavers, GCC and PBU are well on their way to achieving the goal of eliminating avoidable blindness by 2020.
Sightsavers is a leading global development agency working in over 30 countries to combat blindness, restore sight and work for the rights and needs of those with irreversible visual impairment.
Sightsavers' work in India, which started in 1966, has supported the treatment of millions of persons with eye disorders and brought eye services to some of the least served areas of the country.
In addition, many thousands of irreversibly blind people have received rehabilitation and educational support to enable them to lead lives of independence and dignity.