L’OCCITANE and the L’OCCITANE Foundation have been working hand in hand with many organisations that are dedicated to fighting blindness. Did you know that there are almost 285 million blind or visually-impaired people throughout the world? However, the shocking thing is that 80% of blindness is actually preventable! This problem is especially apparent in low- or medium-income countries, where 90% of the visually-impaired live. So far, more than 1,500,000 people have benefitted from eye care thanks to L’OCCITANE’s efforts to support the blind and visually-impaired.
Just like the sighted, the blind and visually-impaired should have equal access to everything, including knowledge, facilities and even personal beauty products and toiletries. All of L’OCCITANE’s product packaging comes with Braille text, which enables them to obtain the best of beauty in its natural state. Everyone deserves the opportunity and convenience to enjoy the feeling of being pampered, and in line with the brand’s philanthropy, L’OCCITANE recognises the importance of making life easier for the visually-impaired.
Beginning from year 2011, L’OCCITANE also presents the L’OCCITANE Sight Award, which awards 50,000 € once every 2 years to an ophthalmologist for his or her research work in contributing to the fight against avoidable blindness in developing countries. In 2011, the award was given to professor Volker Klauss for his work in Africa. In April 2014, the second L’OCCITANE Sight Award was attributed to Dr. Clare Gilbert, which helped to fund eye screenings of 10,000 children in Bangladesh.
On a local front, L’OCCITANE Malaysia began its charity for the blind initiative in 2008 to give back to the local community. The brand works closely with the Malaysian Association for the Blind (MAB) to help improve the lives of the blind and visually-impaired in Malaysia. Since year 2013/2014, L’OCCITANE has also added St. Nicholas’ Home, Penang, to its list of beneficiaries.
In conjunction with International World Sight Day on 8 October 2015, L’OCCITANE Malaysia is organising its signature charity campaign for its 7th year running. This year’s theme, “The Fight Against Avoidable Blindness”, will involve raising funds for MAB and St. Nicholas’ Home. The funds will be channelled into conducting eye screenings and prescribing glasses for those who require attention, among others. Through this initiative, L’OCCITANE Malaysia also hopes to create greater awareness on the roles played by the L’OCCITANE Foundation and L’OCCITANE Malaysia in sight-related charity projects, so that all Malaysians will know more about the causes.
This year’s fundraising initiative will benefit the Ipoh branch of MAB. Located in Kinta Valley, the centre helps many individuals from the low-income sector such as farmers, who have limited access to hospitals and are not exposed to information on eye disease and the prevention of blindness. Eye screenings will be performed on: a) elderly people who have cataracts, and advice for cataract surgery will be provided; b) children between 5 – 17 years old who have refractive errors, where spectacles will be prescribed to improve their vision; and c) students with low vision problems who will be prescribed with Telescopic Magnifiers or Pebble Magnifiers.
For St. Nicholas’ Home, the funds will be used to provide eye screenings for at least 500 students in rural areas, including pre-schools. At least 100 people from the low-income group will also receive free spectacles or intra-ocular lenses that help to correct their vision. As for the general public, awareness will be created by organising exhibitions and talks on eye care in schools and community centres. Last but not least, St. Nicholas’ Home will organise workshops and training for community workers, medical staff and teachers on the importance of eye screening as well as other vision-related issues.
Every year, L’OCCITANE Malaysia introduces a solidarity fundraising product. This product is then sold in L’OCCITANE boutiques throughout the campaign period, and all the profits gained will go to selected local NGOs to support the visually-impaired in various ways.
Mr. Tan Seong Teck, Director of L’OCCITANE Malaysia, expressed his thoughts on L’OCCITANE’s charity efforts. “Year 2015 marks our 7th year of organising our annual fundraising campaign. It’s become one of L’OCCITANE Malaysia’s signature events, and every year, the response is extremely positive. At L’OCCITANE, we aspire to be more than just a beauty brand that makes and sells products. Our founder, Mr. Olivier Baussan, has long-believed that the values of authenticity, respect and sensoriality should be applied in real life, especially in the sense of helping those who are less fortunate. To date, we’ve raised a total of RM233,240.00 (two hundred thirty three and two hundred forty thousand) which has been channelled to NGOs in Malaysia to help the blind and visually-impaired. Furthermore, we’re very lucky to have customers and fans of L’OCCITANE who also uphold these wonderful values. Together, we’re able to make a difference, and that’s what counts. I urge everyone to join L’OCCITANE Malaysia in “The Fight Against Avoidable Blindness” and make a difference for the blind and visually-impaired.”
L’OCCITANE Malaysia’s fundraising initiative 2015/2016 will run from 7 October to 31 December 2015. The special-edition Shea Foot Cream & Tin Box set (30ml, RM41) will be available at all L’OCCITANE boutiques nationwide.
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