Sightsavers to build two-day online story around restoring grandfather's sight

An international development charity is to live broadcast the experience of a 69-year-old grandfather as he undergoes a cataract operation to restore his sight.

Mr Winesi: Having his eye tested ahead of the operation
Mr Winesi: Having his eye tested ahead of the operation

The event, which will start in Malawi tomorrow and will hopefully include Mr Winesi being able to see his baby grandson for the first time on Thursday, will play out on Google+.

It is being staged to kick off a three-year £30m appeal by the Sightsavers charity to help a million people living in developing countries see again.

The appeal is called A Million Miracles and the live broadcast of Mr Winesi’s operation is called See The Miracle.

The appeal will run across Sightsavers’ international fundraising markets, including the UK, Ireland, the US, India, Italy and Sweden. Donations in the UK will be matched pound for pound by the UK government for the first three months of the appeal as part of its UK Aid Match scheme. 
 
Tobin Aldrich, director of global fundraising at Sightsavers, said: "We will focus our A Million Miracles appeal on the stories of individuals whose sight we are saving, using innovative technology to bring supporters together with the people they are helping.
 
"The fact that donations will be doubled by the UK Government until the end of December also gives the appeal a huge kick start that we hope will motivate our supporters."   
 
International development secretary Justine Greening added: "Most of us think cataracts only affect older people, but in the developing world it is also a huge problem for children. The sad fact is that millions of people of all ages are blind or losing their sight because of this disease.
 
"By matching all public donations to its A Million Miracles appeal we will help people in some of the poorest parts of Central and East Africa see again."
                                       
Celebrity supporters for the appeal include Sightsavers ambassadors Joanna Lumley, Lorraine Kelly, Ronni Ancona and Sunetra Sarker. 

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