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Sustainable sunglasses partnership boosts funding for river blindness treatments

This news post is about 1 year old

Hundreds of millions of people across the world are at risk of the disease

A donation to international development charity Sightsavers will help protect over 6,000 people across Africa from a devastating disease called river blindness.

River blindness is a parasitic infection spread by flies that live near fast-flowing rivers and 205 million people worldwide are at risk of contracting the disease. It stops people going to work and children to school, and can cause severe skin irritation, itching, and, eventually, irreversible blindness. 

Nonprofit campaign, #TOGETHERBAND has launched a charitable partnership, starting with the initial donation, where every pair of its new sunglasses purchased will help fund river blindness treatments for 25 people.

Morna Lane, head of major donors and trusts at Sightsavers, said: “As well as pain, blindness and associated stigma, river blindness forces people to move away from fertile river valleys where the disease is prevalent. As a result, they can struggle to find suitable areas to farm or grow crops, pushing families and communities into poverty. Funds from the partnership and sales of the new eyewear collection will directly impact thousands of lives, helping us to support distribution of tablets to communities at risk and stop the disease in its tracks.”

With the help of funders like #TOGETHERBAND, Sightsavers is working to control and eliminate the disease in the countries it works in. It supports governments and other partners to distribute medication that kills the parasites, stops further sight loss, and alleviates symptoms.

One pound from the sale of each pair of sunglasses could help 25 people like Emmanuel in Ghana, who lost his sight from river blindness whilst earning a living as a fisherman. Receiving medication meant that his symptoms subsided, and he was able to work, socialise, earn a living, and play his part in protecting others: “I noticed a long time ago I had a problem with my eyes but it started gradually, it didn’t come all of a sudden. I already have blindness, but we are now protecting the others, the little ones.”

The eyewear collection, crafted using recycled plastic from CDs and electrical appliance cases, can be purchased online.



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Nwadike Boniface
about 1 year ago

Thank you for helping to reduce River blindness among affected Africans. I would like to know if Nigeria is among the places where you are working, and if you can partner with Monsignor Theophilus Okere Memorial Foundation to end the impact of River blindness among the rural people. I works as Community Mobilization Liasion with the foundation. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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Jo Glyde
12 months ago

Hi Nwadike, I work at Sightsavers. We do have a team in Nigeria and I will pass your name and organisation on to our team there.