Free eye treatment project

In this inspiring video about the programme's impact in Pakistan and Bangladesh we see Saad and a team of doctors carrying out free eye checks and issuing spectacles to queues of local people who wouldn't otherwise afford such treatment.

I'm seeing things from a new perspective since attending the Active Citizens workshop,' says Saad from the Free Eye Treatment project in Karachi. 'I've realised how I can use my strengths to help my community and country

Pakistan and Bangladesh are among around 40 countries participating in the Active Citizens programme, which aims to increase the contribution of community leaders towards achieving sustainable development on both a local and global scale.

This short video highlights the wide impact of Active Citizens in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and profiles a diverse range of projects that have been particularly successful in developing community cohesion and improvement through civic engagement or volunteering.

The featured projects focus on a variety of important social issues, from public health to environmental conservation, road safety, literacy and more.

Education plays a major role: a centre that provides free IT training has enabled students to gain employment, meanwhile several schools have been established to offer free teaching to children from families who wouldn't normally be able to afford education.

A teacher from one school comments: 'When we attended the Active Citizens workshop we realised what we had within us. We took steps to educate illiterate children. Our communities will only progress when our children are literate.' We also witness a woman in a deprived area of Bangladesh singing the praises of a women-only literacy centre: 'What I have learned here earned me respect. I will take time out everyday to come here.'

'The world's biggest challenges have no borders,' says Shazia Khawar, Regional Project Manager at the British Council Pakistan.

Exchange participants from Scotland are also featured, such as Poonam from Glasgow, who is moved by the community spirit demonstrated by project workers in Pakistan: 'It's really beautiful to see that there's someone out there helping to guide these people. It's very inspiring; everything that Active Citizens is educating us to do.'

'Through the programme we aim to connect people together locally and globally, support them in their work in local communities and connect them to similar community-level engagement in other parts of the world. The world can be a better place if they realise they have a common perspective.'