Orbis Young Leaders Program

We welcome our first Ambassador, Bernard Chew who is a visually impaired host at NOX and students inducted into our Orbis Young Leaders Program, an initiative led by youths in Singapore that promotes eye care, helps prevent avoidable blindness and supports our sight-saving work.

Orbis Launches Young Leaders Program to Promote Eye Health in Singapore

Limited resources, attracting and retaining the right talent, and finding dedicated fundraising volunteers are often the main challenges facing nonprofit organisations. At the same time, youths who are eager to make a social impact in Singapore and overseas are always looking for ways they can help and how they can be better equipped to do so.

The team at Orbis was very delighted when they met Dr Aaron Goh Qi Yang whose vision resonated with Orbis’s. Together with his two other Founders, students Joshua Rusly Chai Ting Hong and Peniel Ku Peng Le, they inspired more than a hundred students over the next few months to join the team, Project Orasight. These youths will be supporting Orbis’s effort to promote eye health, educate the public about blindness prevention and raise funds.

Part of the benefits of the Orbis Young Leaders Program includes nurturing promising youths and developing them into future leaders of Southeast Asia with the advice and mentorship of leaders at prominent multinational companies that Orbis connects them with.

“Orbis Singapore is very blessed to have the support of youths inspired by our vision and mission to raise awareness of the importance of eye health, and funds to treat and prevent avoidable blindness in the region. We want to provide them with all the support we can for them to become successful leaders of tomorrow who will make a real social impact in the world.”

Elaine Woon

Director of Orbis Singapore

“Young people have the power to change the world. From that belief, Project Orasight was birthed. Having met patients living with visual impairment during my clinical rotations, I have witnessed how eye diseases can adversely affect one’s quality of life. There is a pressing need for us to prioritize the global vision agenda, and Project Orasight is our generation’s response to this complex issue.”

Dr. Aaron Goh

Founder of Project Orasight

With the appointment of Orbis's Ambassador, Bernard Chew, Orbis hopes to provide a platform for persons with visual impairment to effectively speak out about the challenges they face in their daily lives and give people and companies in Singapore the opportunity to be inclusive and involved in supporting them in various ways.

Orbis Charity Dinner at NOX, April to May 2021

Between April and May, Orbis’s dining partner, NOX - Dine In the Dark will be taking guests who sign up for the Charity Dinner on a unique culinary journey of dining without their sense of sight. Guests will be appreciating a three-course meal (comprising four tasting portions per course), with only their sense of smell, taste, touch and hearing.

The evening will start off with guests relaxing over amuse bouche at the lounge where NOX will brief guests of the dining experience. NOX hosts who are persons with severe or complete visual impairment will then guide guests to their seats at their respective tables before serving the Dinner. At the end of the Dinner, guests will get to meet their table hosts who will share their courageous stories and get to hear more about what Orbis does.

When one walks blindfolded with the guidance of the NOX host, one will slow down significantly and take smaller steps so as not to knock into things or people nearby. Other senses such as hearing (listening out for movements and instructions), and touch (reaching out and feeling around for directions) will be more actively employed to get around.

When someone’s eating blindfolded, it’s slightly different. We will rely more on our sense of smell, taste and touch. Our conversation at the dining table will also be louder, because without eye contact, we will instinctively raise our voice to get the attention of the people we are talking to.

The Dinner will give you a chance to gain a real sense of empathy for those with visual impairment and learn of the different ways to help make their lives better. The experience will also raise awareness on the importance of our sight, and what we as competent individuals and responsible companies can do to help treat and prevent avoidable blindness.

Elaine Woon

Director of Orbis Singapore

Funds raised at the Dinner will support our educational campaigns on eye health and eye care programs in countries with the greatest need.

Email [email protected] to find out more about the Orbis Charity Dinner at NOX happening between April and May 2021.

From left: Bernard Chew and Kevin Tan, visually impaired staffers of NOX - Dine In The Dark, with Mr Ramasamy, the restaurant manager. Seven of the 20 employees at the fine-dining establishment on Beach Road are blind or partially sighted. BT Photo: Desmond Wee.

About Orbis International

Orbis is an international nonprofit that has been transforming lives through the prevention and treatment of avoidable blindness for nearly four decades. With our network of partners, we mentor, train and inspire entire local eye care teams – from health workers in rural clinics to eye surgeons in urban centres – so they can work together to save and restore vision in their communities, ensuring no one has to face a life of avoidable blindness. Working in collaboration with local partners, including hospitals, universities, government agencies and ministries of health, Orbis provides hands-on ophthalmology training, strengthens healthcare infrastructure and advocates for the prioritization of eye health on public health agendas.

Click here to learn how Orbis is delivering eye care to beneficiaries overseas through Cybersight, our award-winning telemedicine platform.

In Singapore, we serve as a resource development base to support our sight-saving work in Southeast Asia and beyond. We partner with thought-leaders at key healthcare and aviation conferences, advanced eye care facilities, ophthalmologists and donors to bring across quality eye care services to countries with the greatest need.

We engage companies in the region to raise awareness of the importance of eye health through their Corporate Social Responsibility Programs and organise blindfold lunches and activities in their offices, schools and the community. We also promote good eye health and an active lifestyle with the Health Promotion Board, media partners and influencers to prevent the early onset of diabetes that puts Singaporeans at risk of diabetic retinopathy that can cause permanent vision loss.

Click here for more on 2018 Orbis Mass Blindfold Luncheon

Cybersight is our award-winning telemedicine platforms that allows health teams around the world to access our training and education tools anywhere and anytime

Orbis 2018 Mass Blindfold Luncheon at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Convention Centre partnering Dialogue in the Dark, Singapore attracted over 200 participants to learn about different organisations supporting persons with visual impairment and how they can support.

About Project Orasight

Founded in 2020, Project Orasight is a youth-led initiative that aims to raise awareness for Orbis’s Flying Eye Hospital and the threat of visual impairment worldwide. They achieve this through their triple aims of Awareness, Advocacy, and Fundraising. Project Orasight is also founded on the belief that young people have the power to positively influence the environment around them – hence, youth empowerment and engagement are key pillars of the project.

To date, their team comprises over 100 members who are committed to reducing the global burden of eye disease. The majority of their campaign is on social media (Instagram and Tiktok), where they promote educational messages to the general public.

Project Orasight on Instagram.

Flanked by Orasight’s Vijayan S Athithyaa (far left) and NOX server, Bernard Chew (centre), Orbis Director, Elaine Woon hosted an interview between them at the office.

FACTS ABOUT MYOPIA IN SINGAPORE

It is projected that by 2050, 80 to 90 per cent of all Singaporean adults above 18 years old will be myopic, and 15 to 25 per cent of these individuals may have high myopia. High myopia puts one at risk of many eye disorders later in life, such as early cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration. These complications often cause significant morbidity and may even be sight-threatening.

The prevalence of myopia in Singapore is among the highest in the world, with 65 percent of our children being myopic by 12yo. In contrast, about 12 per cent and 29 per cent of 12-year-olds in Australia and the UK respectively are myopic.

Selected Bios

Stuart L. Dean
Chairman, Orbis Singapore Board
Former CEO, GE ASEAN
Click here to know more about Stuart L. Dean

Elaine Woon
Director, Orbis Singapore
Click here to know more about Elaine Woon

Click here for the full list of Orbis Singapore Board of Directors

Media Enquiries

Elaine Woon, Director

[email protected]
m: +65 9711 8116 | t: 6479 5875
sgp.orbis.org | orbisingapore on social media
352 Tanglin Road, #02-03 Singapore 247671