2020 A World Free From Blindness Gala cancelled due to COVID-19

With heavy hearts, Orbis Singapore had to cancel the 2020 A World Free From Blindness Gala that was set to happen in conjunction with the Singapore Airshow due to the evolving global situation regarding COVID-19.

The decision was made after the Singapore team closely monitored the Covid-19 developments and the Government’s advisories on health, large-scale gatherings and travel restrictions. Based on the advisory nearing the day of the event, it was extremely difficult for any event to be organised. Our Board of Directors deliberated and agreed that it would be in the best interest of our stakeholders if we were to cancel the Gala Dinner rather than postpone it.

Our Fight Against Blindness Continues

2020 was a year of extraordinary challenges for us all. The entire health systems had to prioritize fighting COVID-19. Many eye care facilities had to make the difficult decision to provide only emergency care during lockdowns, especially in the early stages of the pandemic. And without warning, in-person opportunities for eye care teams to hone their skills dwindled, almost overnight. But Orbis knew that urgent eye care needs wouldn’t slow down because of the pandemic, and neither could our mission.

By leaning on our history of innovation, embracing the power of technology in a newly remote world, and having the incredible generosity of our volunteers and supporters, we were able to quickly adapt and keep our fight against avoidable blindness going strong, even in the face of new and daunting challenges.

Our longstanding innovative culture, particularly our embrace of technology, allowed us to quickly pivot our approach in 2020 and is keeping our work going strong. A record-breaking number of eye care professionals have turned to Cybersight to stay connected and learning amid lockdowns.

As of February 2021, the platform had more than 42,000 registered eye care professionals over across 200 countries and regions. From live webinars and full-length courses to resources on topics like safety protocols for reopening post-COVID lockdowns, Cybersight has kept the future of eye care in focus, even during these uncertain times.

Dr. Daniel Neely using Cybersight to train local eye doctors during a Flying Eye Hospital program

Orbis has been able to keep hope in sight thanks to the continued generosity of our donors, who have stepped up to ensure that we could keep changing the way the world sees.

All of our 2020 gala sponsors and donors had kindly let Orbis retain the donations they had made toward our eye health work.

We want to thank our following donors for your generous contribution and support for our eye care work across the world, and even more so during these extraordinarily challenging times:

AerCap, Avolon, BOC Aviation, CDB Aviation, Clifford Chance, DBS, Mr Stuart Dean, GA Telesis, GE Capital Aviation Services, Golden Flying Dragon Corporation, Mr Rai Katimansah, Mr. Norman Liu, Mr Jason Moo, Pacific-China Aero Technology, Spire Flight Solutions, Stephenson Harwood/Transportation Partners, Eagle Eye, NOX - Dine in the Dark, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore.

Hope to See You Soon

Thinh was supposed to fly from Vietnam to Singapore with Orbis-trained doctor, Duong Anh Quan, to meet all of you earlier this year when we planned to have our Gala.

We made many preparations including the recording of a video of Dr. Quan from Hue Eye Hospital and Thinh. At the time of diagnosis, Thinh was a vulnerable baby at 28 weeks old and weighing only 750 grams.

Every year, Dr Quan and his team screen hundreds of premature infants and treat about 40 infants with ROP (Retinopathy of Prematurity) from Thua Thien Hue and neighbouring provinces in Central Vietnam. ROP is still a disease that is not known enough in Vietnam but is the reason for over 30% of the cause of blindness.

“Without my eyesight, I cannot see my parents, go to school and play my favorite toy, playdoh” said Thinh.

We hope to meet you all again soon, when the pandemic is more settled or when global vaccination has reached a stage to allow everyone to travel safely. Meanwhile, we would like to bless you with a recording of The Lighthouse School’s performance. This would have been a live performance at the Gala had it been able to take place.

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