On November 27, 2011 the ORBIS Shanghai office held the Through Your Eyes Charity Gala at the Grand Hyatt, in Pudong, China. The Gala featured a live and silent auction, special presentations and performances. The guests also had the opportunity to witness a moving presentation by a family that benefited from an ORBIS sight saving program.
In attendance at the gala were approximately 200 VIP guests, including celebrities Jonathan Lee, the "Godfather" of Chinese pop music and Sight Ambassador of ORBIS China; Vivian Hsu, Hope Ambassador of Baodao-ORBIS Beautiful New World Project; Roseline Luo, 2011 Miss Universe China and leaders from ORBIS corporate sponsors Baodao Glasses, Aussino, Standard Chartered Bank, OMEGA, the BUND Magazine and many individual supporters.
However, the real VIP of the evening was Maiyan, a 12-year-old girl from a remote Gansu province whose life was changed by ORBIS. In May, Maiyan received life changing surgery from ORBIS to correct strabismus. To support the charity gala and to help more kids like her, Maiyan donated a painting she made about “sweet home in her eyes,” which later won the highest bid of the night raising CNY 1 million.
Dr. Ray Tsai, the founder of ORBIS Taiwan, was invited on behalf of volunteer faculty to interact with trained local doctors from rural Yunnan province. Dr. Tsai and the local doctors presented about the ORBIS capacity building network and how they work reach out to eye patients and doctors in remote mountain areas. Their passion and commitment to help patients resonated.
The auction was kicked off with Vivian Hsu taking the stage with a Chanel handbag she donated followed by an autographed Liverpool soccer squad jersey donated by Standard Chartered Bank. One of the biggest attractions at the auction was the lifetime Renoir engraving, which was printed only in one edition in Paris in 1919. The artwork was donated by Mr. Monte James, a friend of ORBIS’ volunteer faculty member, Otis Paul from United States.
The OMEGA Hour Vision Blue wrist watch was auctioned as well as an emerald ring presented by Ms. Roseline Luo. Mr. Alan Chan, the well-known Hong Kong designer, also donated his modern sculpture "Heart to Heart".
Including table sales, the event raised $700,000 (CNY 4.4 million), which is approximately 20 times the value of the original auction item prices.
Since establishing a permanent office in Shanghai in 1999, ORBIS has been working to find sustainable solutions to the lack of quality, affordable and accessible eye care services for the rural poor, particularly in western China’s remote ethnic minority areas. In 2012, ORBIS will kick off 4 to 5 new projects across 5 provinces of China with a project budget of $1 to $2 million each. These projects will aim to strengthen the capacity of local eye health services to provide affordable, quality eye care to local populations in need. All of the proceeds collected from the Through Your Eyes Charity Gala will go directly to support ORBIS programs in China.