SOURCE: Helen Keller International

Helen Keller International

December 04, 2014 03:00 ET

New Agreement Unites Legacies of Helen Keller and Fred Hollows

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - December 04, 2014) - The global fight against avoidable blindness has been strengthened with the signing of a partnership between Helen Keller International and The Fred Hollows Foundation.

Under the agreement, the organizations will work together to help restore sight to some of the world's most vulnerable and disadvantaged people. They will collaborate on projects and campaign together for greater investment in international efforts to prevent blindness.

Helen Keller International CEO Kathy Spahn, who visited the Fred Hollows headquarters in Sydney, Australia, last month to formalize the agreement, stressed the importance of addressing both the causes and the consequences of preventable blindness.

"Preventable vision loss is a major drain on economic productivity, including in developing countries where it locks people into cycles of poverty," said Spahn. "Factors such as political instability, conflict and population movement can contribute to preventable blindness, making it even harder for people to access medical treatment and other basic health services."

The Fred Hollows Foundation CEO Brian Doolan welcomed the partnership, noting that the scale of the challenge ahead is significant.

"Today, 32.4 million people are blind in the world -- and four out of five of them don't need to be," said Doolan. "We still have a long way to go to ensure that no one is needlessly blind and this is another step forward in making that ambitious goal more achievable."

Both Helen Keller and Fred Hollows worked tirelessly to help those who were blind or vision-impaired and to push for more resources and research to eradicate preventable blindness. Helen Keller International and The Fred Hollows Foundation work in the spirit of these great people and are among the world's leading organizations striving to ensure no one is needlessly blind.

Founded in 1915, Helen Keller International works in 21 developing countries, as well as in underserved communities in the United States, to combat the causes and consequences of blindness and malnutrition through research-based programs in vision, health and nutrition.

Founded in 1992, The Fred Hollows Foundation is working to restore sight in more than 20 developing countries, and in some of Australia's most isolated Indigenous communities.

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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