Skip to content

Maggie Haws: A life of service remembered

Published: 11.05.2022
Sarah Brooker Maggie Haws daughter
Maggie at the award ceremony

Maggie joined SightSavers International in 1977, and worked for two years as Personal Assistant to its Founder Director, Sir John Wilson, whilst he was deeply involved in founding the International Agency for The Prevention of Blindness.

Maggie at 88
Maggie at 88

Maggie’s role was to ensure that this new organisation was built on a firm administrative foundation, punctuated by regular intervals with Executive Committees and full conferences. A change in personal circumstances saw Maggie depart from her role with Sir John Wilson as Sightsavers International, and take a post as Welfare Officer to overseas teachers, based in Kuala Lumpur and London.

However, Maggie returned to Sightsavers International as international administrator for Alan Johns CMG OBE in September of 1987. In 1990, she returned to IAPB when Alan was elected President and then Secretary General in 1994.

She worked tirelessly to support the establishment of IAPB Regional Meetings, Partnership Committee Meetings, WHO PAG meetings and arrangements for the General Assembly in Berlin in 1995 and in Beijing in 1999.

Following Alan’s John’s death, Maggie single-handedly ran the IAPB secretariat. She worked closely with Dr R Pararajasegaram, and with Dr G N Rao when he was appointed as Secretary General in 1998.

Maggie was instrumental in the launch of Vision 2020; a global initiative that made a huge difference to global eye health, creating a major focus on the importance of eye health and eye health services in the countries and districts where action was needed.

Maggie was presented with the ‘Outstanding Contribution Award’ for her many years of devoted and meritorious service to the cause of combating needless blindness throughout the world.

She retired from IAPB in 2000, but remained in contact with many of the friends and colleagues around the world who were dedicated to the work she so loved. Maggie died peacefully at home with her family around her.

Global eye health has lost one of its most passionate advocates.

Image: Maggie at the ceremony for her Outstanding Contribution Award