Richard Holmes, CEO, Standard Chartered (Europe), tells the conference that 80% of blindness across the world is curable and explains why they formed their charitable initiative, Seeing is Believing, which is being supported by the expedition. He explains that in 2003, at the time of 150 years anniversary of the birth of Standard Chartered, the bank asked employees what charity they wished to support. Staff from across the world agreed the issue of avoidable blindness was a major problem and worthy of the company’s focus. With a simple cataract operation costing just $30, it is not a lot to spend given the impact it has on the life of the individual and their families. Seeing is Believing was founded and since then SC has raised $50 million. Aiming for $100 million by 2020.

During his passionate speech he said: “It is an Incredibly moving thing to see how when a mother’s sight is restored, she is able to send her 8-yr-old child to school because she no longer has to guide her mother on the two-hour trek to get water each day. We’re very happy we can work with Ran on this adventure and that SiB can benefit from the expedition.”