Orbis Ireland

Orbis' mission is to preserve and restore sight by strengthening the capacity of local partners in their efforts to prevent and treat blindness with the vision that this will lead to a world in which no one is needlessly blind, where quality eye care, education, and treatment are available to every human being.
Jun 10, 2013

Providing Access to clean Water in Konso, Ethiopia

Konso Water Pump
Konso Water Pump

ORBIS Ireland is committed to providing the Ethiopian people with access to clean water; an integral element in the battle to eliminate trachoma from the country. Trachoma is a highly contagious disease that is transmitted through contact. Promoting personal hygiene and the importance of hand and face washing is highly effective but without access to clean water this education can become redundant. 

 Recently, a group of fundraisers joined me on a tour of Konso, southern Ethiopia. The region is largely inhabited by farming communities. Water is a scarce resource and many members of the community travel up to twenty kilometres to fetch it. The area is largely dry and before our intervention there was virtually no water harvesting infrastructure in place. 

In partnership with Water Aid, ORBIS has transformed accessibility to clean water in this area. Building an underground damn has allowed the community to collect water all year round. In turn, this is connected to a nearby pumping station that serves around 1000 people. The impact of providing water to this community has been enormous and your generosity has made this project possible.   

ORBIS has been working to provide clean water to the people of Konso for over five years now and with your support, we are making progress. Through providing access to clean, potable water, we are helping to eliminate trachoma and other diseases. By 2015, we hope to leave the people of Konso with the skills and infrastructure needed to support themselves in a sustainable way. Thank you for being a part of this. 

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May 24, 2013

Building Latrines in Konso

Building Latrines in Konso
Building Latrines in Konso

ORBIS has been working in Konso, southern Ethiopia, for over five years now. On a recent visit to the region, we had a fantastic opportunity to witness the building of a new community latrine. 

Located just off the town's market square, this facility will benefit an estimated 1,000 people per week and serve as a key element of our strategy to improve sanitation facilities in order to combat avoidable blindness in the region. Before ORBIS began construction, open defecation was a common practice in this area. Through building community latrines, ORBIS is inhibiting the spread of the bacteria which causes the blinding eye disease trachoma. 

Providing access to basic sanitation is a priority in our work. We have witnessed the local population's continued willingness to learn about the benefits of good hygiene. In turn, public attitudes towards sanitation are improving; this is key to the success of our work in Ethiopia.

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we can continue to build and maintain latrines in Konso and beyond. On behalf of all those who directly benefit from your support - Thank You! Please do get in touch if you would like to know more about our work. 

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May 9, 2013

Simple Sight-Saving Surgery: Churo Ayano

Melkamu Roba and Churo Ayano
Melkamu Roba and Churo Ayano

As part of our fundraising trip to The Great Ethiopian Run, Addis Ababa, ORBIS Ireland sheperds a small group of supporters on a project visit. Late last year, we visited Konso, southern Ethiopia and witnessed a simple yet effective surgery being carried out on Churo Ayano. Churo is a 37 year old local man who had travelled some 10km by foot to the Konso Regional Health Centre.

Having suffered from trachoma for nearly 5 years, Churo was visiting the health centre with a friend when his condition was recognised by an ORBIS-trained nurse. Trachoma is an infectious eye disease which continues to bring pain, blindness and poverty to millions across the developing world. Trachoma is prevalent in Ethiopia. If left untreated, the eyelashes turn inwards and scar the surface of the eye. This advanced state of trachoma is known as trichiasis and causes avoidable blindness. Churo was at immediate risk of losing his sight when he was operated on by an ORBIS-trained nurse, Melkamu Roba.

The simple surgery performed on Churo has had a life-changing effect. We spoke with him shortly after his surgery and he told us that once the protective bandages are removed in a weeks time, he is most looking forward to just being like everybody else and getting back to work. Without the support of ORBIS, Churo told us that he would probably have followed the advice of his friends and removed his eyelashes himself.

On the day we visited Konso Helath Centre, there were 6 other patients waiting for surgery. The cost of each surgery is just €6 or $10. Please help us deliver the gift of sight to people like Churo. 

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