Posts in Category: “Preventing Blindness”

Helen Keller International aims to prevent blindness around the world. 80% of all blindness is avoidable, with simple, proven solutions such as adequate vitamin A, low-cost surgeries, and annual doses of antibiotics.

Rebel with a Cause

An entrepreneur’s vision to end Vitamin A Deficiency

When Wes Stoody entered Eastern Michigan University he thought he wanted to be a professor. Five years later he is educating people, but not in the way he originally planned. Along with business partner Jay Parkin and his sister, Maggie Stoody, Wes created Aframes, a socially conscious line of unisex eyewear. The company sells fashionable sunglasses with the dual goal of raising awareness about vitamin A deficiency (VAD) and helping to fund programs that prevent it.

Aframes is partnering with Helen Keller International and will donate 5% of all revenue to help HKI’s vitamin A supplementation programs around the world.

Next week, Aframes is going one step further: the company will donate 50% of its revenue to HKI in celebration of the start of summer. We encourage you to visit their website between May 28th and June 2nd to take advantage of this generous offer!


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Categories Preventing Blindness, United States

A Mother’s Day Story

How one woman's bravery inspired HKI's Peggy O’Neill.
Margaret with Peggy

This blog is written by Peggy O’Neill, HKI’s Vice President of Development, Individual Giving.

“I’d tremble too, if a stranger was about to put a sharp scalpel to my eyelid,” was all I could think as I watched Somoe Abdalah prepare for trichiasis surgery. I walked up to her and gently took her hand in mine. Tears immediately began to roll down her cheeks, and soon after, I was crying too.

I didn’t expect to get emotional as I got in a jeep that morning to observe HKI’s Trachoma program in a remote Tanzanian village, but there was something about seeing this woman, my own age, lying on an exam table awaiting surgery that particularly moved me. She was trying so hard to be brave, but her trembling showed her fear.


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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness

Integrated NTD control in Mali

Lessons learned in Mali can serve as example for other countries implementing integrated NTD programs.
Mali Map PLOS

This post was written by Amy Alabaster and first appeared on the End the Neglect blog.

In many parts of the world where NTDs run rampant, it’s not uncommon to see communities affected by 2, 3 or even all seven of the most common NTDs. Because of this, countries and other stakeholders involved in NTD control are increasing efforts to integrate disease control programs. Integration helps to reach more people with the drugs needed to treat and prevent NTD infections, while cutting down on costs and resource demands.

In 2007, Mali was one of five ‘fast-track’ countries, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), managed by RTI International and assisted by Helen Keller International, to launch an integrated national NTD Control Program. A paper recently published in the Public Library of Sciences (PLoS) NTDs describes the successes and lessons learned so far through the implementation of this program.


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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness

TOMS is Helping Give Sight to Children in the U.S.


This post originally appeared on TOMS’ blog.  Helen Keller International is partnering with TOMS to provide prescription eyeglasses to students in need through our ChildSight® program.

As TOMS sight giving continues in Nepal, Tibet and Cambodia, we are very happy to share that TOMS Eyewear purchases are now helping restore sight to children in the United States as well!

TOMS is excited to partner with Helen Keller International’s (HKI) ChildSight® program to help provide prescription glasses to children living in impoverished U.S. communities. Since 1994, ChildSight® has provided vision screening and prescription eyeglasses to at-risk students living in urban and rural communities in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Cleveland and the Navajo Nation. TOMS Eyewear is proud to join them in helping provide new glasses to children.


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Categories Preventing Blindness, United States

Meet HKI’s Friendly Worm Warrior: Emily Toubali

An interview with HKI's Program Manager for Neglected Tropical Disease Control
Moyamba 2

In honor of World Water Day, I am highlighting Helen Keller International’s Program Manager for Neglected Tropical Disease Control, Emily Toubali. One of her responsibilities it to manage our Trachoma Control Programs, a major component of which is promoting face-washing and proper sanitation to prevent this blinding disease. I recently sat down with Emily and asked her about her background, what drew her to the career she has today, and why water is so important to global health.


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Categories Africa, Helen Keller, Preventing Blindness, Staff Profiles

Test Your Knowledge!

A Global Blindness Facts Quiz

How much do you know about blindness and visual impairment? Take our quiz to test your global health knowledge!

Instructions: Answer all 5 questions. Once you are finished the correct answers will be displayed.

How many people worldwide are visually impaired?

What percentage of all visual impairment is avoidable by prevention, treatment or cure?

What percentage of the world's visually impaired live in developing countries?    

Globally, what is the most common cause of visual impairment?

Which of the following blinding diseases can be  prevented or treated?

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Categories Preventing Blindness

A Great Last Minute Gift

Christmas Oranament

Hanukkah has begun and Christmas is just days away. If you’re still looking for the perfect gift, look no further!  This holiday season, make a donation to Helen Keller International in honor of someone special to help save the sight and lives of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Whatever amount you give  – $1,000 to provide 1,000 children with life-saving vitamin A, $250 to restore the vision of five people through cataract surgery, or $25 to give one American child the glasses she needs  – your gift will make a significant improvement in someone’s life. You can’t say the same for fruitcake!

Don’t just take my word for it: Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times columnist, Nick Kristof included HKI in his annual gift guide noting: “HKI gets more bang for the buck than almost any group I can think of.”

Our success is due to the loyal commitment of friends and supporters like you. During this season of giving as we look forward to a new year, please consider making a difference with a donation to Helen Keller International.

On behalf of the HKI team working around the globe – and those whose lives are touched because of your generosity – we wish you happy holidays and a healthy and prosperous New Year.


A drawing from a child in Cambodia who benefited from our Homestead Food Production program. The ornament at top was drawn by a student in NYC who received free eyeglasses through our ChildSight® program.

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Categories Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition, United States

Bringing Education into Focus™: Meet HKI’s Nancy Prail

An interview with HKI's Director of Childsight®
Prail in New Mexico

How many people can say that their job brings instant gratification through very simple solutions? Ask Nancy Prail (left in blue shirt), our Director of Childsight®, and she will tell you it happens to her all the time.

Helen Keller International’s ChildSight® program serves at-risk children living in urban and rural poverty by offering free vision screenings and eyeglasses. ChildSight® overcomes the two biggest barriers to childhood vision care: prohibitive cost and limited access. Since 1994, ChildSight® has screened over 1.4 million students in the U.S. and has provided free eyeglasses to over 186,000 of the nation’s most vulnerable children. The result is a significant increase in class participation, a reduction in disruptive behavior and a dramatic improvement in self-confidence. Click here to watch HKI’s video on the Childsight® program.


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Categories Preventing Blindness, Staff Profiles, United States

Sight & Food: What do They Have in Common?

A week of awareness for vision and nutrition.
World Sight Day Face

What do Sight and Food have to do with one another? Well, for one thing, both have official celebrations this week! Today, October 13th, is World Sight Day, and Sunday, October 16th is World Food Day.

Your ability to see is greatly affected by the nutrients you eat. In fact, Helen Keller International collaborated on the groundbreaking research in the 1970s that first identified that a lack of vitamin A can not only cause blindness, but can also compromise the immune system, which, in turn, increases the risk of death from diseases such as malaria, measles and diarrhea.


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Categories Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition

Back to School with ChildSight®

A new year of "bringing education into focus™" begins.
ChildSight students

This post was written by Nancy Prail, HKI ChildSight® Director.

What a summer our ChildSight® sites have had! New York, New Jersey and Connecticut survived an earthquake and then flooding from Hurricane Irene. Los Angeles braved Carmageddon, and New Mexico and Ohio endured record-breaking heat. But, we all came through these challenges ok, and as happens every year right after Labor Day, we said good-bye to summer and hello to a new school year!

As children flock to schools with brand new notebooks, pencils, and back-to-school outfits, there is an undeniable excitement in the air. However, for some, the hope of a fresh start turns into frustration and disappointment when they begin to struggle with school work simply because they cannot see the blackboard well enough to complete their lessons.


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Categories Preventing Blindness, United States