Patricia Fernández-Deu has a degree in Journalism and Humanities. Her professional career has developed over twenty years in the field of communication. She has been the director of the agency Estrategia and, since 2016, she has been collaborating with MAHALA Communication and Public Relations in project management. She is a communication consultant and specialist in the design of communication strategies, mainly in the corporate, cultural and foundation fields.
Her work with Eyes of the world dates back to the Foundation’s beginnings in 2001. She travelled to Mozambique as part of one of the medical-training commissions to report on the project there, once a year she assumes the council of the Eyes of the World Night and, since the beginning of 2022, she is also a member of the Advisory Board.
How did you get to know the Foundation and what motivated you to get involved?
I got to know the Foundation when it was just being created, twenty years ago. I was working at the communication agency Mahala and Rafael Ribó and Borja Corcóstegui asked the agency for help to launch the Foundation and to organise the first charity dinner, the first Night of the Eyes of the world. After that first collaboration, I continued on a personal basis as a collaborator and volunteer for the Foundation because I found the project very interesting. It seemed to me to be a very serious Foundation that fulfilled a very necessary task, and I decided to continue collaborating in a personal capacity.
Do you think the work carried out by Eyes of the world is important? Why?
Yes, I think it’s very important and necessary. I believe it’s important because it’s active in areas where there is very little eye health or where it is very neglected and, above all, because the impact they have is amazing. By healing a cataract, they manage to ensure that a person who is completely disabled because they cannot see anything can lead a normal life; even more so in these countries where not being able to see condemns you to not being able to do anything. It is almost a miracle what they achieve and I think it is very important to support them.
What is your role within the Foundation?
From the beginning I have always collaborated in the management of The Night and specially on the day of the event with all the coordination and council work, helping the management team, helping with the task of coordinating the presenters, the artists, making sure that the timing of the event is right, etc. Moreover, since the beginning of this year, apart from the specific task of The Night, I am also part of the Advisory Board.
What does volunteering bring to your professional and personal life?
It gives me the knowledge that we do worthwhile things. I think it is very important. I can’t imagine a life without helping those in need. For me it is important to help in this cause and also in others, big or small. The basis is to try to help those who need it.
As a professional in the field of communication, how do you think raising awareness of the problem of avoidable blindness can help?
I think it is important to communicate what we do, to communicate the quality of the teams that travel to work in the field, this distinguishes us a lot as a Foundation. First of all, we are a Foundation that has been in existence for twenty years, and this is not so easy. Eyes of the world is a solid organisation and what it does, it does well. For me, it’s crucial to communicate this and it’s important for people to be aware that eye health is extremely important.
There are people who think that there are other causes that are more important, such as diseases that are fatal and that perhaps also need help, but eye health, especially in impoverished or more vulnerable countries, is fundamental because it means being able to live in one way or another. In developed countries everyone has access to eye health, but in these other countries they do not. I think it’s valuable to communicate this and make people aware of this reality.
There are different factors that hinder women from fully exercising their rights, how do you think communication can help in the empowerment of women?
Eyes of the world has never discriminated between men and women and on the countries of operation we have worked to empower people, therefore, I believe that we have to continue doing what we are doing. It is important to make the women who collaborate with Eyes of the world visible and to highlight their role. In this sense, I believe that we are already doing this and that all the women who collaborate with Eyes of the world or who are protagonists of the activities that are carried out have already been highly valued and empowered.
What words would you use to define the Foundation?
Rigorous, necessary, professional.