ORBIS Hong Kong was established in early 90s when a group of impassioned individuals who shared the dream of a world free from preventable blindness came together to raise public awareness about eye care issues. That same year, three high-profile supporters donated US$14 million to fund the purchase of a DC-10 airplane to replace our existing DC-8 Flying Eye Hospital. The biggest of these supporters was leading local businessman Mr. Y.C. Ho, who generously donated US$7 million of the DC-10’s cost. He and his fellow donors’ extraordinary kindness succeeded in instantly raising awareness about ORBIS’s presence in Hong Kong and its worldwide sight-saving work.
ORBIS Hong Kong contributes to the fight against global blindness in several different ways. While most of our work involves raising funds and building public awareness, we also invite local ophthalmologists and orthoptists as medical volunteers to travel all around the world in conducting training sessions, eye examinations and check-ups.
Over the years, our Hong Kong office has promoted a variety of innovative fundraising and awareness-building campaigns via media channels such as television, newspaper and magazines. Our specially appointed Sight Ambassadors support our mission by visiting our projects in the world’s poorest countries and endorsing our advocacy campaign through the sharing of their insights to the public.
One of our most important campaigns, the annual Pin Campaign, is timed to coincide with World Sight Day, which takes place on the second Thursday of each October. In the campaign, individuals and corporate groups are encouraged to raise funds and to wear an ORBIS pin to demonstrate their dedication and support. A mainstay of our fund raising calendar since 2004, the Pin Campaign has received outstanding support from individuals and corporations, and is regularly endorsed by the Hong Kong government. Aimed at building awareness of childhood blindness issues among local children, our annual Kids Sight Carnival is yet another way we reach out to local people.
Recent years we have invited donors and their family members to experience ORBIS’s sight-saving work first-hand on “See ’N’ Feel” Tours. Participants can travel with ORBIS staff members to observe Flying Eye Hospital or hospital-based projects in some of the world’s poorest countries, as well as visiting local families in remote villages we work for. The ultimate aim is to strengthen donors’ emotional links to our sight-saving projects. To date, all who have participated in these tours have returned home feeling an enhanced sense of fulfillment and passion for blindness prevention.
Engaging schoolchildren is another essential element of our sight-saving work. To this end, we regularly schedule talks and exhibitions, as well as distribute leaflets and booklets at kindergartens, primary and secondary schools. We also organize an annual Student Ambassador Campaign in which students are encouraged to find creative ways to raise funds and express their compassion. The teams which raise the most funds subsequently become ORBIS Student Ambassadors and travel on sight-saving missions to see the results of their hard work first hand.
In the coming years, ORBIS Hong Kong will continue to advocate the importance of eye care and health issues, both locally and internationally. Thanks to the ongoing generosity of our donors, volunteers and staff, we are confident we will one day soon realize our dream of a caring world free from the curse of preventable blindness.
Please support us in bringing light to 39 million blind people worldwide.