Caroline Harper

Advocate for visually impaired people
At Sightsavers, an international NGO, Caroline Harper leads efforts to eliminate avoidable blindness around the world and fight for equal rights.

Why you should listen

Dr. Caroline Harper's ultimate goal is to see herself out of a job. She runs Sightsavers, an organization with global offices that strives to eliminate avoidable blindness and ensure that people with disabilities have equal rights. Up to 75 percent of sight loss can be cured or prevented, and her team hopes to achieve their goals so spectacularly that the organization is no longer needed. 

Harper worked in the gas industry until 2002, before co-founding a management business that specialized on turnaround sales of energy companies. But during what she describes as a mid-life gap year, she visited a number of developing countries and felt drawn to international development. "My own family has a lot of blindness, so the mission of Sightsavers really resonated for me," she said. "I have now been its CEO for 13 years, and every year something more incredible happens. The best moments are when I visit some of the countries where we work, sit with people in their communities and realize that what we do has a massive impact. I am so lucky."

Harper is a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for her work to protect the sight of people in developing countries. Sightsavers works with a range of partners and is supported by organizations such as The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust and UK aid through the UK government's Department for International Development.

Caroline Harper’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Caroline Harper

Live from TED2018

In Case You Missed It: An audacious day 2 at TED2018

April 12, 2018

Three stellar main stage sessions of talks — including the launch of the Audacious Project — plus workshops, exhibits and TED Unplugged, a session of talks given by audience members, made for a jam-packed day 2 at TED2018. Here are some of the themes we heard echoing through the opening day, as well as some […]

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