Symbiosis International (Bangladesh)

Village Vision 2018
The work of Symbiosis in Bangladesh is carried out under the overall management and oversight of Symbiosis International, an NGO registered in Australia and based in Brisbane, Queensland.

Village Vision 2018 will be conducted as part of Symbiosis Primary Eye Care Service (SPECS), the aim of which is: Supporting sustainable development by reducing low vision and blindness with a focus on primary eye care, eye health education and training of skilled eye care personnel.

UCF has made two previous grants (with pictures) to Symbiosis International and their last acquittal reported that in the 2017 Village Vision project, an additional 16 patients were found to be blind due to cataracts (over and above the 20 anticipated). Due to Symbiosis’ good relationship with the Bangladesh National Society for the Blind (BNSB), the eye hospital agreed to provide surgery and cover the costs of the additional patients from its own budget.

The project objectives of Village Vision 2018 are to-

  1. facilitate improved quality of life and development participation for the poor by providing primary eye care and treating blindness caused by cataracts and;
  2. strengthen Symbiosis’ grassroots development work by building trust through demonstrating practical care and concern

Symbiosis will arrange for SPECS staff and ophthalmologists from the Bangladesh National Society for the Blind (BNSB) to visit the area to provide vision screening to around 200 patients.

Approximately 20 patients with the greatest need for cataract surgery will be identified and arrangements made for them to receive surgery at the BNSB eye hospital in Mymensingh. Transport and post-operative care for patients are provided as part of the project.

The total cost to restore sight is equivalent to just $100 AUD per person.

Given their excellent track record, UCF directors were pleased to approve a further grant of $2,000 AUD to enable Symbiosis to continue this important work.

The Hands Of Rescue (THOR)

Safe Motherhood Programme – Papua New Guinea (PNG)
PNG is one of the worst countries in the world for recorded maternal deaths.

1 in 30 women will die in childbirth in PNG compared with 1 in 10,000 in Australia. About 1 in 10 women in PNG will have a problem delivering a baby, sometimes minor and sometimes major. If they get into difficulty in a remote village they may not survive the problems.

Hopes and Dreams

Economic Empowerment – women’s self-help groups (South Africa)
Hopes and Dreams exists solely for the direct relief of poverty and began their first project in 2010. They are passionately committed to making a difference to the lives of the poor and desperate people living in the remote and rural parts of Africa and India.

International China Concern (ICC)

Community Outreach – Changsha city, China
Although China is experiencing rapid economic growth there remains a deficit in social welfare for the disadvantaged, especially the disabled. Hundreds of thousands of babies and children with disabilities continue to be abandoned each year.

ICC believes that WHERE a child lives should not dictate IF that child lives.

Specialized training for Chinese nationals working in social welfare is limited and many have little or no understanding of how to care for those with special needs. This leads to high child mortality rates. In many state-run orphanages

Sepheo Foundation (Lesotho)

School Fence Costs
Josh and Belinda Groves (Australians) founded Sepheo in 2013 in response to the needs of children on the streets in Lesotho, Southern Africa. Prior to this, Belinda spent 18 months on the streets understanding root causes and building relationships with children there.

Sepheo is the first point-of-call for children on the streets,

Symbiosis International

Village Vision 2017 (cataract surgery)
For almost 22 years, Symbiosis has been helping poor and marginalised people in Bangladesh overcome poverty, principally in rural areas. They do this through empowerment-based grassroots community development, centred on self-help group formation, adult literacy and peer savings (for income generation activities). The empowerment of women is a key focus.

Hopes and Dreams Inc

Economic Empowerment – women’s self-help groups (South Africa)
Hopes and Dreams (registered in Australia in 2008) is dedicated to delivering self-sustaining, poverty breaking solutions in Africa and India where they focus on two areas:

• bringing clean and safe water to communities, and

Mission for African Mothers (MAM)

Rural Youth Reproductive and Sexual Health Education Campaign (Uganda)
In October 2014, UCF awarded a small grant of $2,000 AUD to Mission for African Mothers (MAM) to run this project in Olio sub-county. You can read about that first grant here.

The aim of this project is to use a youth-to-youth based approach as a means of creating awareness among the rural youth on sexual and reproductive services, information and rights.

Bulogo Women’s Group (Uganda)

Entrepreneurship training
Bulogo Women’s Group (BWG) was started in 2005 by rural women of the Kamuli district to mobilize and empower women through enterprise, agriculture, health, human rights promotion and protection of the environment.

BWG wanted to expand their programme for entrepreneurship training to 300 women in the Kamuli district and applied to UCF for the funds to do so.