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.
Sep 7, 2016

This 13 year old girl is back at school - thank you!

After surgery and her future is bright again!
After surgery and her future is bright again!

Tesfanesh is a 13 year old girl, she is the eldest of four girls. She lives with her parents and three younger sisters in Dana Bulto in southern Ethiopia. As the eldest, she is relied upon to help to look after the younger girls. She is also responsible for many of the household chores, herding cattle and collecting water and firewood.

On top of all this, Tesfanesh attends school, which is what she loves the most. She loves reading and writing. Her teachers encourage Tesfanesh as she has huge potential. They say she is one of the brightest students in the entire school.

Four years ago Tesfanesh was forced to leave schoool and she could no longer read her beloved books. 

Her eyes started tearing, it was like she constantly had something in her eye. Over time this sensation worsened and her eye lashes started to turn inward, scratching on her eyeball. This is known as trichiasis, the blinding form of trachoma. Years of repeated infection without treatment leads to a life of excruciating pain and ultimately blindness. 

It was impossible to attend school or play with friends or carry out simple household chores. Trachoma is all-consuming. Tesfanesh stayed at home most days because of a fear of sunlight.

The entire family were so worried about Tesfanesh’s eyes: the thought of Tesfanesh losing her sight in such a young age was unbearable. They tried every traditional treatment available, but nothing worked. 

One day, Tesfanesh’s parents heard an announcement of an Orbis supported free eye care service. Eye health professionals were coming to one of the health centres in their community. The next day, Tesfanesh’s walked the 5km with her parents to the local health centre.

The Eye Health Worker confirmed that Tesfanesh had been suffering from Trichiasis. Straight away, they conducted surgery on both eyes. A few days later she returned and had the stitches removed. 

Following the simple surgery Tesfanesh said “I didn’t see anything except the road on my way to the health centre, but now I see everything and most importantly I am not feeling any pain…I can’t wait to start school again”

Thank you for supporting our project to conduct sight saving surgeries - your support is making a real difference! 

Before surgery, but 4 yrs after the pain started
Before surgery, but 4 yrs after the pain started
Aug 25, 2016

Orbis - removing the burden of health problems

The school toilet before Orbis
The school toilet before Orbis' intervention

Founded only five years ago, Lima Tsala Secondary School already hosts 269 students, with a staff of ten teachers. Until very recently, all 279 people were forced to share one poorly constructed toilet. There were no facilities for pupils or staff to wash their hands, and long queues often resulted in open defecation in the school grounds. The school faced many challenges, but a lack of toilet facilities was one of the most pressing.

An impact survey in the area showed that this particular district is in fact free from the blinding disease, trachoma. However, trachoma spreads easily and quickly in areas where sanitation is poor, and the school could have been the perfect breeding ground. Keen to ensure that this didn’t happen, Orbis took the opportunity to transfer a portion of its budget to build two brand new, sanitary toilets - greatly reducing the risk of possible infection for both students and staff.

The director of the school, Mr Sisay, said:

“It has always been our wish to provide our teachers and students a well standardized and ventilated latrine in the school. Previously both female and male teachers and students had been using one old latrine together which has no privacy and running water for hand washing. But this year, our dream came true when Orbis came to our school and intervened. Now two standard latrines are constructed (one for male students and one for female). Now our school provides a healthy environment for the whole school community. We are so grateful to Orbis”. 

Children across the world are so similar. They all enjoy laughing and playing with friends. Unfortunately alongside this is potential insecurity as they grow from children into adolesence. Every school child deserves the right to know they can go to the bathroom in private, without the fear of a school mate or teacher interrupting.

Your support has enabled Orbis to ensure 269 children have the privacy they deserve. Thank you! 

The new toilets - thanks to Orbis
The new toilets - thanks to Orbis
Aug 24, 2016

Orbis - Helping Women to Help Women

Women use song and dance to educate others
Women use song and dance to educate others

In rural areas of Ethiopia, women are three to four times more likely than men to have blinding trachoma. Thus, control of trachoma is likely to benefit women more than men and educating women is likely to be more impactful in the reduction of trachoma. 

Training of Women's Group Leaders (WGL) and Community Health Agents (CHA) - who are all women - creates the opportunity to increase eye health awareness and address the problem through the active participation of women. 

Importantly, through repairing a number of water schemes across the region of Gama Gofa, Derashe and Konso in southern Ethiopia, Orbis has reduced the distance women have to travel to fetch water.

Now, women are able to better participate in economic activities, take better care of their own and their children’s hygiene and contribute to environmental improvement.

 
   

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