The Countess of Wessex visited Qatar this week, and has called upon big businesses to fulfil social responsibilities.
At a conference of influential business people, Sophie urged companies to do more for charities, and gave Standard Chartered Bank as an example. The company has raised over £60 million for charities for the blind in 12 years, with its ‘Seeing is Believing’ campaign.
“It’s easy for senior execs, or indeed any employee to wriggle off the hook when the committee has had its say, and the bottom to the top fundraising can fall into the ‘well, it wasn’t my first choice, it’s up to them’ category of lack of total engagement.
Sophie, 50, is the global ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and patron of Visions 2020, another sight-saving charity. She has visited Calcutta a number of times to see the work carried out there, even testing the equipment on her husband, Prince Edward.
“I have seen for myself the eye clinics, hospital theatres, doctors and health workers, many of whose work is being supported by Seeing is Believing.
“More importantly I have met patients for whom a life of darkness or even death is no longer the sentence it once was.”
The Countess eldest child, Lady Louise, has suffered with eye problems in the past, and had surgery to correct a squint last year, which can cussed blindness. Many think this is one reason she supports vision organisations.
“I have seen the smiles and the looks of the incredulous wonder spread across the faces of many individuals as their sight is restored and they can dare to hope.
“There is only one example of how a company has taken cause to its very core and done something extraordinarily meaningful.
“I would remind you that you are in the business of making fortunes, we are in the business of changing fortunes.”
Later in the day, Sophie paid Mada, another sight charity, a visit.
She met a robot created for children with autism and similar conditions, which performed a dance for her.