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Al Basar International Foundation

International Awards

Hamdan Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services

Al Basar International Foundation (BIF) is a non-governmental organization established in 1989 to fill the gap in philanthropic eye healthcare. It provides therapeutic, preventative, and educational programs to manage blindness and visual impairment in developing countries on a regional and international scale.

Since 1989, the Foundation has been changing lives worldwide. The group's vision is "to create a world free from preventable blindness, and where people have access to affordable and sustainable eye care." To accomplish this vision, it collaborates with local communities, hospitals, and government agencies to ensure the setting up of sustainable infrastructure that inspires local teams to save sight in their communities. In addition, the Foundation is ready to send committed teams to people who live in remote and hard-to-reach areas.


It all started when a group of enthusiastic doctors realized that 253 million people worldwide are visually impaired and that 80% of these cases can be treated or prevented. This group formed the "Al Basar International Foundation" and launched its first specialist medical campaign in Pakistan. To date, the Foundation has conducted 344 such camps in Pakistan alone.

In 1990, the group established a hospital in Pakistan, the first of 29 chain hospitals in Asia and Africa. 1995 and 1999 marked their first hospitals in Sudan and Yemen, respectively. To expand the Foundation's impact, a sister organization, Al Basar International Foundation UK, was established in 2005 to fight against preventable sight loss in 46 countries worldwide. The Foundation carries out 84 missions annually in over 45 countries and three continents to provide free eye care, deploying teams of experts to treat needy communities and raising awareness among children and families in the targeted communities.

The Foundation believes that "access to eye care is a right, not a privilege." It transforms communities by providing people with access to eye centers that are equipped with the latest technology and trained staff. The Foundation follows a comprehensive approach to the fight for sight in all its projects. It involves investing in infrastructure by building specialist eye hospitals accessible to all and training institutions to raise the next generations of medical professionals.

To date, over 22 million people have benefited from the various programs and services provided by the Foundation, a task accomplished with the help of 2,830 employees, including optometrists, nurses, and physicians, who have done 3.1 million sight-restoring operations since 1989.

The Foundation supports children struggling in schools through another efficient tool; screening in schools to identify and treat children worldwide who suffer from vision impairment. The treatment is simple in some cases; children need a pair of glasses. To date, 2,342 schools have participated in children's screening projects; over one million schoolchildren have been screened for sight loss, and over 10,000 eyeglasses have been distributed to participating children.

The team believes that educating the future leaders of this sector is crucial. Through its colleges in Sudan and Pakistan, students have the chance to train as registered ophthalmologists, technicians, and nurses. The colleges provide five programs run by medical experts, many of whom are affiliated with top academic institutions. With the help of their knowledge and training, 750 graduates fill the gap in human resources across Africa and Asia as they become the next generation of qualified eye-care professionals.

The Foundation has partnered with the World Health Organization, Noor Dubai Foundation, Direct Aid international, and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center. It is a member of different international organizations like the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and the Prevention of Blindness Union, among many others.

It also provides donors and volunteers with diverse options to support the cause. Donors can choose to change the future of generations of people and communities by including Al Basar in their will, supporting events like mountain hiking and marathon running to help raise funds for the projects, or even becoming a corporate partner using their resources for this cause.

Given the vast impact of the pioneering work in making a world free from preventable blindness and giving people access to affordable and sustainable eye care through volunteerism and health programs, the Hamdan Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services is a well-deserved recognition for Al Basar International Foundation for the term 2021-2022.