UNHCR facilitates professional eye screening services to displaced communities in Azerbaijan by Japanese Fuji Vision Aid Mission

Baku, July 10, AZERTAC

Today, Japanese Fuji Optical Company started its 13th vision aid mission to Azerbaijan, which is organized by UNHCR in close cooperation with the Government. As in previous years, Fuji Vision Aid Mission is consisted of six optometrists, headed by the prominent Japanese scientist Dr. Akio Kanai. This year, free of charge eye-screening and eyeglasses distribution for refugees, internally displaced and other vulnerable people will be conducted in Mingachevir from 11th to 13th July, in Sheki from 14th to 15th July and in Baku on 17 July.

Dr. Akio Kanai received the prestigious Nansen Refugee Award from UNHCR in 2006. It was presented to him as an official acknowledgement towards his continuous commitment to assist displaced people around the world and for being a generous private donor of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the last four decades. Last year, during the Nansen Refugee Award ceremony held in Geneva, Switzerland, a video devoted to Dr. Akio Kanai’s humanitarian activity was presented and made public (

About 2.5 million USD has been spent by Fuji Optical to accomplish its humanitarian activity in Azerbaijan since 2005. Around 43 thousand pairs of high quality optic eyeglasses and other items have been brought to the country as in-kind donation to the UNHCR operations in Azerbaijan. In total, close to 20 thousand refugees, IDPs and other vulnerable people have benefited free of charge from vision screening services facilitated by the UNHCR Representation in Azerbaijan together with the respective central and local authorities. This year, Fuji Vision Aid Mission has donated 4,000 pairs of eye-glasses and other vision and hearing aid items to UNHCR and it is targeting to screen about 2,500 IDPs, refugees and other vulnerable people during the 6 days vision tests and eye-glasses distribution.

In general, since 1983, when the Company started its humanitarian activity among Indo-Chinese refugees in Thailand, Fuji Optical has donated more than 150 thousand pairs of eyeglasses to refugees, IDPs and other vulnerable people in six countries of Asia, Europe and Africa, conducted vision aid missions in four out of those countries through UNHCR, including Azerbaijan.

Humanitarian efforts made through the Japanese Vision Aid Mission have always been highly appreciated by UNHCR and also by the Government of Azerbaijan and the targeted communities. These efforts demonstrate understanding and sympathy towards the displacement challenge faced by Azerbaijan and the work of the UN Refugee Agency. UNHCR is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international interventions for the protection and well-being of refugees and IDPs, and it continues to raise awareness and facilitate all efforts aimed to support the displaced people in Azerbaijan until the time a solution is found to their displacement.

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