The Fred Hollows Foundation has opened a regional office in Singapore to provide greater outreach to the increasing number of needlessly blind people in Southeast Asia.

The official opening was held at the residence of Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, hosted by His Excellency Allaster Cox.

The Foundation has been active in the Asia-Pacific region since 1992 when Professor Fred Hollows first started in Vietnam. The Foundation has restored sight to millions of people in Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Lao PDR and Vietnam. The new regional office in Singapore will support The Foundation’s work in China and Southeast Asia through strategic partnerships, research and advocacy.

Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, who attended the official opening of The Fred Hollows Foundation’s regional office in Singapore, said: “The Fred Hollows Foundation focuses not just on the provision of eye services, but in skills-sharing and making new eye healthcare technologies accessible globally. From training eye doctors to establishing intraocular lens factories in Nepal and Eritrea, The Foundation has reached millions of blind people. I commend the work of The Foundation in supporting this worthy cause.”

Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, His Excellency Allaster Cox, who has worked closely with The Fred Hollows Foundation as Australia’s Ambassador to Vietnam between 2008-2012, said: “I’ve witnessed first-hand the faces of numerous patients who have just had simple cataract surgery, and the look of absolute joy to be able to see again was very uplifting. The Foundation’s work and its impact on people’s lives is immeasurable.”

“I hope that with the launch of The Foundation’s Singapore office, we can reach the growing number of people who are needlessly blind in the region and raise the profile of The Foundation in Singapore and the work The Foundation is doing in the Asia-Pacific region. We wish The Foundation every success.” 

The Fred Hollows Foundation Singapore Advisory Committee Member Scott Speedie said: “Singapore is a vibrant and dynamic city with a strong culture of philanthropy – it is the perfect launch pad for The Foundation as we cement ourselves as a leader in eye health and international development committed to ending avoidable blindness in the region.”

Mr Speedie said he was optimistic about future collaborations and partnerships with both the public and private sectors in Singapore to achieve The Foundation’s ambitions for the region. “We have the solutions to end avoidable blindness – programs that work in partnership with governments and local organizations to strengthen health care systems and with the private sector to enhance access to high quality eye health services,” he said. 

“The newly established Singapore office will serve as a vital center for supporting The Foundation’s fundraising and advocacy efforts, as well as raising awareness about the transformative work we undertake in the region.”