The Countess of Wessex has been visiting Qatar this week, the first royal overseas visit of 2022, to raise awareness about eye healthcare.
Sophie, Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, arrived in Qatar on Monday to view projects associated with Orbis in the Middle East. Her visit continues through to Thursday, meeting with charities and organisations in support of the IAPB’s ‘2030 in Sight’ campaign.
According to the IAPB, ‘2030 in Sight’ aims to “highlight the scale of avoidable blindness, and to promote a collaborative, global approach to ensuring eye care and rehabilitation facilities are available to everyone who needs them, wherever they are in the world.”
Sophie first visited Qatar Charity, an organisation that agreed to work with Orbis on eye care projects in the future. The charity’s Chief Executive, Yousef bin Ahmed AlKuwari, said in a statement: “Today, we look forward to building on a successful track record with Orbis and expand our cooperation to more hard-to-reach areas to ensure a sustainable, inclusive, quality vision care for all.”
The Royal Family’s Twitter noted that during this meeting, the Countess was also provided an update on Qatar Charity’s work with Afghan refugees. Next, Sophie paid a visit to the National Museum of Qatar to learn about the country’s history and view multi-sensory and interactive exhibits that are designed for the blind and visually impaired.
Sophie finished the day’s engagements by planting a tree at the British Embassy in honour of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
On Wednesday, the Countess of Wessex met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani to discuss the partnership between the Qatar Fund for Development and Orbis. The Deputy Prime Minister later tweeted that he was pleased to meet with Sophie, saying, “We look forward to enhancing our cooperation to fulfill our humanitarian duty towards those in need.”
“The return visit to Doha by the Countess of Wessex supports important aspects of the UK’s strong bilateral relationship with Qatar, including our humanitarian and health cooperation as well as the focus on women in leadership and women in peace and security,” said the UK’s Ambassador to Qatar, Jon Wilks, in a statement.