SOURCE: Helen Keller International

Helen Keller International

November 25, 2014 03:00 ET

Helen Keller International Focuses on Building Brighter Futures on Threshold of Centennial Anniversary

Donors Encouraged to Support Empowering, Sustainable Efforts That Increase Opportunity for Those in Need

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - November 25, 2014) - Helen Keller International, one of the oldest and most respected global nonprofit organizations devoted to preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition, has launched a holiday campaign encouraging donors to support programs that empower vulnerable communities with simple tools needed to help them build brighter futures for themselves.

Women and children under five remain among the world's most vulnerable groups. A pregnant woman who is malnourished is more likely to give birth to a malnourished baby. Children are at the greatest risk for malnutrition during their first 1,000 days of life and proper nutrition during this critical development stage can mean the difference between life and death. For children under five, malnutrition often leads to lifelong damage including an increased risk of blindness and mental and physical developmental delays. These children are also at greater risk of dying from common childhood diseases like diarrhea and measles.

Helen Keller International is dedicated to preventing blindness and vision loss and reducing malnutrition so that fewer people suffer loss of their productive years due to disability and premature death.

Using proven, cost-effective interventions in combatting the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition, Helen Keller International currently has more than 180 programs that reach 100 million people each year in 21 African and Asian countries, as well as in the United States.

Helen Keller International programs are designed to provide impoverished and under-served regions with the resources and education needed to help them build and sustain programs to improve health and wellbeing within their own communities. This includes professional training for local doctors, health workers and other leaders to ensure the knowledge stays within the communities long after our team has gone. We also conduct extensive research and evaluation of our programs to ensure that the solutions we provide are effective.

"In the new year, we will be kicking off our Centennial -- and Helen Keller International is as relevant today as it was 100 years ago," said President and CEO Kathy Spahn. "In 1915, American philanthropist George Kessler and humanitarian crusader Helen Keller founded what would become Helen Keller International. Though our programs have grown and evolved throughout the years, from the beginning, our mission has been to provide opportunity and hope where there is hardship and despair. As Helen Keller said, 'Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.'"

Helen Keller International has received international recognition for the effectiveness of its programs and efficient use of donations in making an impact where it is needed most. In addition to receiving another four-star rating from Charity Navigator in 2014, Helen Keller International was also awarded the 2014 Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership. As New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof noted, "Helen Keller International ... gets more bang for the buck than almost any group I can think of."

Last year alone, Helen Keller International:

  • Reached 51 million children under five with twice-yearly, high-dosage vitamin A supplements in 15 African countries, significantly reducing the likelihood these children will die before their fifth birthday.
  • Provided free vision screenings for 82,480 American children living in poverty and gave 17,967 of them new prescription eyeglasses through our ChildSight® program to ensure their access to an education would not be blocked by not being able to see clearly.
  • Empowered thousands of impoverished and marginalized women in Africa and Asia with agricultural training and nutrition education so that they could provide their families with better food, as well as earn financial independence by selling surplus produce they grow themselves. 

Individuals interested in learning more about the organization's impact can visit www.hki.org/impact.

Individuals interested in making a donation to support Helen Keller International's sight- and life-saving work can visit www.hki.org/gift.

Learn about other ways to support Helen Keller International at www.hki.org/getinvolved. 

Founded in 1915, Helen Keller International's mission is to save the sight and lives of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. HKI combats the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition by establishing programs based on evidence and research in vision, health, and nutrition. Visit www.hki.org for more information.

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