Helping Cure Blindness in Sub-Saharan Africa

Lenovo employee fundraises and volunteers with Himalayan Cataract Project

BY RYAN WILL

Cataracts are typically associated with old age in most developed countries, but according to the World Health Organization they are responsible for 51% of world blindness. Crucially, they can often be corrected with surgery. However, in areas of the world most affected by cumulative malnutrition, dietary deficiencies, and lack of accessible and affordable medicine, cataracts tend to hinder entire families from progressing.

In 2017, Chris Annison, Device as a Service Strategy and Operations Director, sought fundraising for the Himalayan Cataract Project to cure 607 patients of cataract-induced blindness in sub-Saharan Africa. With his brother-in-law as one of the volunteer surgeons, Annison wanted to know what ways Lenovo could help improve the lives of these patients half a world away.

Helping Cure Blindness in Sub-Saharan Africa

Inspired by the cause, a retina-scanning Moto mod was explored as a possibility for real-time medical assistance on the ground. Although later set aside, various fundraising efforts resulted in a $30,000 donation and a sponsored week-long medical outreach that helped men, women, and children regain sight previously lost to cataract-induced blindness.

“It’s incredible to see this work being done, especially with some of these people seeing for the first time in 20 years,” said Annison. “Going blind doesn’t just affect the person, it affects the whole family. The oldest children typically have to drop out of school to help compensate for the other generations no longer able to work, adding to this cycle of poverty that could be helped with a simple procedure.”

Kababush, a 34-year-old mother of six children, traveled 175 kilometers to Arba Minch, Ethiopia, in hopes of regaining her sight to continue to take care of her family. As she was suffering from advanced cataracts, her husband and older children took more responsibility that strained their ability to earn income or pursue education. Just one of the 607 lives improved by this medical outreach, the impact of regaining sight in some ways is a second chance at life.

A 10-minute, $25 surgery restores sight to the needlessly blind with 80% of blindness being treatable or preventable. To donate or for more information, visit www.cureblindness.org.

This is just one of the ways that Lenovo has, and continues to Love On. Lenovo reaches millions of communities through innovative products, and families worldwide rely on our 50,000+ employees. With the official launch of the charitable Lenovo Foundation in October 2018, it’s evident that giving back to these communities is increasingly important and central to Lenovo’s identity.

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