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International charity The Fred Hollows Foundation launches in Hong Kong International charity The Fred Hollows Foundation launches in Hong Kong

International charity The Fred Hollows Foundation launches in Hong Kong

International development organisation The Fred Hollows Foundation is the latest Australian company to join the large Australian business presence in Hong Kong, launching in the city today.                                                                                                    

Chief Executive Officer Brian Doolan expects the establishment of a Regional Hub in Hong Kong will provide greater outreach to the increasing number of needlessly blind people in Asia, including China.

An official launch and inaugural fundraising reception was held at PMQ, Central, and officiated by Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, GBS, JP.

Established in 1992, The Fred Hollows Foundation works to prevent avoidable blindness by building capacity from village health centres to regional hospitals and national ophthalmological networks.

Four out of five people who are blind don’t have to be and The Fred Hollows Foundation has demonstrated sight can be restored for as little as $HK150 in some countries.

The Foundation trains local doctors and health workers, builds and upgrades facilities, and provides equipment in order to achieve long-term sustainable eye health care. It is Australia-grown and is now working in more than 25 countries globally including for more than 17 years in China.

Guest of Honour Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said: “Hong Kong is a perfect place for international NGOs such as the Fred Hollows Foundation to establish regional offices.  Geographically, with a central location in Asia Pacific, Hong Kong is recognized as a springboard to and from Asia.  Socially, we are a dynamic city with a strong culture of philanthropy and charitable giving.”

More than 32 million people in the world are blind and 30% are found in Asia. China has the largest percentage of the global blind population, accounting for 20%. The situation is worst among those aged 50 and above, many of whom are needlessly blind because of untreated cataracts.

Brian Doolan said: “The Fred Hollows Foundation has helped to restore sight to more than 2 million people worldwide. The Hong Kong office will continue to work proactively in Asia and bring changes to people’s lives.”

Hong Kong TV star, Elvina Kong also attended the launch. She agrees: “After experiencing cataract surgery myself just recently, I personally understand the impact of restoring sight. The ability to see enables a full life. It means recognising the faces of your children and grandchildren, enjoying movement and colour, restoring dignity. It takes only HKD$150 to perform sight-restoring surgery in many developing countries. We hope more Hong Kong people can support the work of The Fred Hollows Foundation.”