Trade Aid

Making a World of Difference

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Support for ongoing projects has continued unabated in 2020 and now into 2021, further establishing the influence that Trade Aid UK has been able to give to important relief programmes worldwide. Much of this has been enabled by the continued sale of Trade Aid UK Granulated and Caster Sugar through Tesco Stores and online at Ocado. The use of external aid agencies and charities has been instrumental in us being able to reach the remotest parts of the globe where often the needs are greatest. The individual aid projects supported by the Trade Aid UK Foundation can be viewed by simply scrolling up and down the project panel on this page and clicking on the project that interests you.

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Eye Care Programme

In 2012, Trade Aid UK is supporting the work of Vision Aid Overseas, a UK-based NGO dedicated to transforming access to eye care services in developing countries.

We have funded a programme team of 6 volunteer optical professionals to provide eye examinations and glasses in Burkina Faso, one of the world’s poorest countries. The team we supported saw over 2,800 patients and dispensed in excess of 2,200 pairs of glasses during their mission to the Burkina Faso in February 2012 as well as provide in-country training to trainee eye care workers from Ouagadougou University Hospital.

Since its establishment in 1985, Vision Aid Overseas has helped over 1 million people to see through the provision of eye care and glasses. It is a staggering fact that 670 million people – 10% of the world’s population – are disabled or disadvantaged simply because they don’t have glasses.

This is an extremely important global healthcare crisis which is often overlooked, partly because glasses are so widely available in western countries that it is hard to imagine the impact on your life without them.

However, for sufferers in developing countries the consequence can be devastating. 13 million children worldwide are at risk of missing the opportunity to get an education because they can’t see well enough to go to school. A further 45 million working-aged people are unable to provide for their families because of poor eye sight which could be fixed with a pair of glasses. For the many millions more, not having glasses lowers quality of life, prevents people from reading, writing and performing near tasks and stops people from seeing the world around them clearly.

Burkina Faso is a landlocked country situated in West Africa (it was called Upper Volta until 184) with an area of 274 square kilometres and a population of nearly 16 million. It is one of the world’s poorest countries, ranking 161 out of 169 on the United Nations Human Development Index and with a GDP per capita of just $1,200 (compared to the United Kingdoms’ $35,100). More than 80% of the Burkinabe population relies on subsistence agriculture and it is estimated that 46.4% of the population live below the poverty line and 81.2% live on less than $2 dollars per day.

Optical services are extremely scarce in Burkina Faso. A survey of the healthcare system in 2006 identified only 22 ophthalmologists working in the country (or one for every 727,000 people – and seven of these worked in the private sector), not a single optometrists and only one other person with the skills needed to test eyes to a basic level. Spectacles are also extremely expensive – glasses available in the very few optical shops in Ouagadougou cost a minimum of $20, or ten days wages for the average Burkinabe!

Vision Aid Overseas has been working in Burkina Faso since 2000 have helped over 73,000 patients through their programme there. The volunteer teams provide a vital service in the communities that they reach by providing eye examinations and glasses to people who have never had an opportunity to get them before. The work has a dramatic impact on the well being of their patients and has given many thousands of children the opportunity to go back to school and mothers and fathers the ability to provide for their families.

Trade Aid UK is extremely proud to be supporting the vital work of Vision Aid Overseas and helping the world to see. If you would like to find out more about Vision Aid Overseas’ life transforming work, please visit


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