- Strategic Framework
- Our History
- Our Latest News
- Sightsavers invites proposals for the MRCG-HRB
- Mother's Day Gifts
- Comic Relief Kenya Trek
- Calling MBA Students!
- Eight out of ten parents catch germs from their kids
- International Nurses Day
- International Family Day
- Happy World Water Day!
- Making eye health a priority for WHO
- Our Press Centre
- Our Publications
- Irish Aid
- EC collaboration
- Fundraising Principles
- Frequently asked questions
- Dochas code of conduct on images and messages
- Innovation Fund
Frequently asked questions
What does Sightsavers do?
For someone who is blind, the gift of sight is the greatest gift of all. We believe that sight is a basic human right, and that everyone - including those in the world's poorest countries - should have access to the treatment and eye care that they need. Our work is important because, as well as providing treatment that can help to restore sight. We also work hard to support those who are blind or visually impaired to look to the future and lead independent lives within their communities.
Where does Sightsavers work - In what Countries?
Sightsavers work in a number of African countries including, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe. Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Cameroon, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Mali. We also work in Bangladesh.
How is Sightsavers Governed?
Sightsavers International (Ireland) was set up in November 2003. It is a company limited by guarantee which is a standard company structure for a charity. Sightsavers Ireland has charitable tax status as designated by the Revenue Commissioners. The organisation is independent of Sightsavers International but works closely with it across a range of areas.
The charity's governing authority, also known as the Members, meet every year at the Annual General Meeting. Reporting to the Members is the Board of Directors who meet every quarter. The Chief Executive reports to the Board of Directors.
Below is the full list of Members, Directors are indicated by an asterisk (*)
Chairman - Pat Farrell, Chief Executive, Irish Banking Federation*
Adelaide Add-Fening, Director of Programmes, Sightsavers*
Joan Burton TD
Caroline Casey, Kanchi
Simon Coveney TD
Howard Dalzell, Programme Director (Retired), Concern*
Frank Fell, Chief Executive (Retired), Licensed Vintners Association*
Fintan Glynn, Development Director, AEGON Scottish Equitable International*
Patricia Hallahan, Director, Dementia Services Information & Development Centre
Mary Moorhead, Director, Mater Foundation
Michael Murphy, Director (Retired), Irish Distillers*
Gerry O'Sullivan, Director, Q4PR*
Sightsavers (Corporate Member)
What is Sightsavers role in education?
Nine out of ten children who are blind or visually impaired do not go to school. Sightsavers works with children, teachers, parents and communities to support children in mainstream education. read more >
What is Social Inclusion?
People who are blind can become isoloated from their community, making them vulnerable to abuse, poverty and even death. Sightsavers works with local partners to train people who are blind in the kinds of skills they need to lead independent lives. read more >
What is cataract?
Cataract is the world's leading cause of blindness, accounting for 47% of blindness in the world. Although cataract cannot be prevented, it is relatively easy to cure with a straightforward 20 minute operation. read more >
What is trachoma?
Trachoma is a disease of poverty, affecting mainly women and children in hot, dry and dusty areas, and is spread by flies and cross infection, such as through unclean fingers and towels. Years of repeated infections of trachoma cause trichiasis, when the eyelid turns inwards and the eyelashes rub on the eyeball, causing scarring, constant irritation, terrible pain and eventually blindness. read more >
What is river blindness?
300,000 people are blind from river blindness in West and Central Africa. A further 18 million people are infected with the disease, and over 100 million are at risk from it. The disease is spread through the bite of the black simulium fly, which breeds in fast flowing rivers. River blindness can be prevented by a yearly dose of the drug Mectizan®. read more >
How long has Sightsavers been in operation?
For over 60 years Sightsavers has been restoring sight and supporting people who are irreversibly blind through education and training. We help the people who need it most - those living in poverty in some of the worlds poorest countries.
Can I donate my old glasses to Sightsavers?
No: Sightsavers do not take in old glasses; as it costs too much to clean and process them. Specsavers the opticians often take used / old glasses and send them on to other charities.
Do you ever send volunteers overseas?
No, in an effort to develop long-term, sustainable programmes, we work with local partners.
How does Sightsavers raise its funds?
Sightsavers raises funds from a number of different sources. IN 2007, we raised funds from the following sources.
Individuals - 81.9%
Grants - 8.4%
Companies - 5 %
Legacies - 3.2%
Trusts - 0.8%
Other - 0.7%
How much of my donation actually goes to people in need?
Sightsavers works hard to spend your donation where it is needed most. Currently, 72.3 cent out of every €1 goes towards charitable activities in the developing world. A tiny 0.1 cent is spent on governing the organisation, while the remaining 27.6 cent is spent on increasing awareness of blindness in the developing world and on raising funds to continue to save sight.
What difference can my donation make?
Any donation to Sightsavers can make a real difference.
5 cent could protect one person against river blindness for an entire year.
27 cent could pay for a tube of ointment which effectively treats trachoma in its early stages
€6 could make eyelid surgery for someone who is suffering from the advanced stages of trachoma possible
€13 could pay for ten pairs of glasses
€19 could pay for a Braille kit, which would allow someone who is blind or visually impaired to learn Braille
€20 could restore the sight of a person who is blinded by cataract
What Donations do not qualify?
Tax can be claimed on donations:
Where the total amount of donations to Sightsavers International was €250 or more within the tax year.
Where one or both spouses pay tax through PAYE only.
If you are in receipt of a pension and pay tax on it.
If you retired or stopped working during the tax year, but paid sufficient tax up until the date you stopped working.
Tax cannot be claimed on the following:
Donations of less than €250 in the tax year.
Donations from companies.
Donations from individuals who have any self assessed income in the tax year.
Donations from individuals who pay income tax abroad, and not in Ireland.
I am not working at present, but my spouse pays tax through the PAYE system. Can you still claim back the tax on my donations?
Yes, a husband and wife are jointly assessed for tax purposes so either person can sign the tax form.
I retired last year: can tax be claimed on my donations?
If the amount of tax paid on income before you retired is sufficient, then we can still claim back the tax, e.g. if you retired in September then there should be sufficient tax paid.
I am receipt of a pension from my past employer, but pay tax on it.
We can claim back tax on your donations, if a sufficient amount of tax has been paid.
I have recently lost my job and am currently not paying income tax.
We can still claim back tax on your donations, if income tax was paid for the year in question.
I pay tax in the UK, can this be claimed back?
We can only claim back tax on donations made to Sightsavers International Ireland, and where the donor was paying income tax in the Republic of Ireland.
How do I know if I am self-assessed?
Anyone who completes their own tax return, or has an accountant that does this for them, is self assessed. Once an individual has any self assessed income in a tax year, they are considered self assessed for the purposes of the scheme and can claim the refund of tax themselves.
I am self assessed, but would like for Sightsavers International to benefit from the tax relief on my donations.
If you are self assessed, you will need to claim back the tax on the donation. This can be done by claiming the donation as an expense when you file your tax return. You can then donate this reclaimed amount to Sightsavers International, if you wish.
For more information about tax relief on donations, please contact Grace at firstname.lastname@example.org or (01) 663 7666.
Further information on the scheme is also available directly from the Revenue Commissioner's Charity Claims Section at email@example.com or (067) 63400.
How can I make a donation to Sightsavers International?
You can send a cheque, postal order or bank draft to Sightsavers International, 70 George's St Upper, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. For security reasons, please do not send cash.
How can I make changes to my regular donations?
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address, supporter reference number (if known) and the details of your donation, and we will be able to help you with any queries.
I have recently changed my contact details, how can I update my details?
Please email email@example.com with your old and new contact details and we will make the necessary changes.
How do I change the amount of literature I receive?
I would like to change the amount of literature I receive. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your details or telephone us on (01) 663 7666 and we will be happy to make any changes for you.
Can a representative of Sightsavers come and speak to our fundraising group?
Please contact us at email@example.com or (01) 663 7666 with the details and we will do our best to arrange this with you.
I am organising a fundraising event for Sightsavers International, what information can you send me?
We can send you a fundraising brochure, t-shirts, sponsorship forms, stickers and collection boxes. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (01) 663 7666 for further details.
I have problems with my eyesight, is Sightsavers able to help me?
We do not work in Ireland, and our services internationally are provided with the help of local partners. We recommend that you visit your GP or optician with any health or sight related problems you may be experiencing.
I want to help
How can I become more involved in supporting Sightsavers work?
There are lots of ways you can help us such as by making a donation or you could even get involved in a fundraising activity. Click here to find some great fundraising ideas. If you would like further information, you can email us at email@example.com or you could give us a ring in Dún Laoghaire at 01 663 7666
Sightsavers is part of a campaign called the Global Campaign for Education (GCE) which is working to make sure the world meets its commitment to the Education for all children to go to school. GCE runs an awareness week every April. For more information and to see how you could be involved, go to www.campaignforeducation.ie
Do you offer support for schools?
Sightsavers International Ireland do not run specific programmes for schools however if you would like to contact us, we can send you all relevant information for preparing your lesson plans and offer some ideas as to how your class can get involved. You can also find some good ideas on the UK Sightsavers site.
Every year Sightsavers invites all primary school children to participate in the Junior Painter Awards.
Or why not get your school involved in Global Campaign for Education activities www.campaignforeducation.ie