Celebrating 60 years

To celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and 60-year patronage of Sightsavers, we have launched an appeal to help us achieve our goal of eliminating river blindness.

It fact it was during the Coronation year that we funded the first trip to investigate the scale of this blinding disease. 25 years later, to mark Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee, we launched a special fund to provide desperately needed Braille equipment to blind children in the countries where we work. Her Majesty graciously wished us every success with this project. We are delighted to again receive her best wishes, through correspondence with her office, for the current Diamond Jubilee River Blindness Appeal.

A major threat

With 120 million people at risk of river blindness, and 37 million people already infected, it’s a major cause of preventable blindness in Africa. Spread by the bite of the black fly that breeds by fast-flowing rivers, research now suggests that it’s possible to eliminate the disease through drug distribution programmes like the ones we support. This means people can live by the river free from the threat of losing their sight.

The appeal aims to raise $1.5 million a year from government funders, companies, trusts and private donors. It was launched at event in London that was attended by our President, Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra.

For more information or to donate please contact Sarah Flint on

Sir John Wilson's vision

Lady Wilson is the wife of Sightsavers founder, the late Sir John Wilson, and accompanied Sir John on many of his trips to Africa. She says: “The struggle against river blindness is still going on today. But for the first time there is a united global effort to eliminate the disease. I am therefore proud and privileged to help launch the Diamond Jubilee River Blindness Appeal which could realise John’s vision of an Africa free of this terrible disease.”

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