Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians

by Orbis Ireland
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Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians
Simple Surgery to restore Sight to Ethiopians

Ethiopia accounted for 30% of trachoma in sub-Saharan African countries in 2018. This means that over 1.2 million people were suffering with a painful disease that will result in blindness if not treated. Orbis is working hard to help those affected. 

Amarech lives in Zaga kebele about 5km away from the Health Centre in Geresse, Ethiopia. She works as a farmer and has six children; three boys and three girls. Her eldest child is nine and her youngest is two. 

Amarech has been suffering with tears, discomfort and pain for three years. She is suffering with trachoma and was given ointment to treat trachoma. The ointment only caused the pain to go away temporarily and then she suffered from re-infection.

The trachoma was so advanced that Amarech needed surgery. She travelled to her local health centre where an Orbis-trainned eye care worker was treating trachoma.

Unfortunately, the trachoma had spread within her family and her husband and sister also required surgery.

Thanks to your support of this project, three people received the eye surgery they so desperately needed. 

Thank you for helping to save the sight of so many people across Ethiopia!

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Banchi (School Teacher Southern Ethiopia)
Banchi (School Teacher Southern Ethiopia)

“I enjoy it. I’m happy when I help someone!” - Banchi (School Teacher from Gama Gofa, Southern Ethiopia)

To tackle the spread of trachoma in schools, Orbis trains teachers in primary eye care, and vision testing. This means they are able to refer pupils when they need glasses or spot the first signs of eye disease in school children.

As well as training teachers in basic primary eye care, Orbis has established school eye care clubs across Ethiopia, where students learn how to take good care of their eyes and what to do if their vision begins to deteriorate; and the importance of hygiene for good eye care.

Banchi has been teaching biology for five years in a secondary school in Gama Gofa, Southern Ethiopia.

Three years ago, she received training from Orbis in primary eye care, allowing her to diagnose eye conditions and refer students at the school she works in. She tells us she was trained on the signs and symptoms of trachoma, as well as other eye conditions such as cataract and refractive error. She enjoyed the training, and believes it helps the school she works in. Banchi has identified eleven cases of trachoma in the students she has screened, and referred them to the health centre where they received treatment.

“When I help a student they are happy,” she says. “Not just the students, but the community too!”

Banchi's role also includes managing the school eye care club – pupils join and learn about trachoma, eye care and the importance of good hygiene, and then share this knowledge among their peers, families and community.

Banchi’s role is an important one - she is making a real difference in the school. 

Thank you for your support!

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Meskenem is four and is suffering with trachoma
Meskenem is four and is suffering with trachoma

Meskenem is just four years old. Her eyes are red-rimmed, teary, and she rubs them constantly. Tragically, she has suffered like this for a year.

Orbis is working to free children, like Meskenem, from pain, suffering and the threat of blindness. Through providing sight saving surgeries, distributing antibiotics, teaching communities about the importance of facial cleanliness and improving the water supply - Orbis is eliminating blinding diseases.  

For this week only, your donation to Orbis could go even further. You could help even more children like Meskenem. Children who are suffering unimaginable pain and discomfort. Children at immediate risk of blindness Ethiopia. Children with trachoma.

From today until Friday, donate to Orbis through GlobalGiving's Little by Little Campaign and every donation up to $50 will be matched at 50%. A $50 donation would enable Orbis to conduct seven sight saving surgeries in Ethiopia. GlobalGiving would match this donation to enable Orbis to conduct three more!

Relieving Meskenem from pain will not only enable her to see again, but she will be able to return to school, play with her friends and have the childhood that everyone deserves.

Thank you for your support.

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Children are now free from the threat of blindness
Children are now free from the threat of blindness

Since 2006, Orbis has been working to eliminate a blinding and life-destroying eye disease- trachoma- in southern Ethiopia.

Orbis adopted the World Health Organisation's SAFE strategy and thanks to your help, Orbis has been conducting Surgeries, distributing Antibiotics, educating on the importance of Facial cleanliness and improving the Environment by improving the water supply and sanitation.

In just over a decade, we have significantly reduced the prevalence of blinding trachoma in Ethiopia. The project has successfully reduced the prevalence of trachoma in 14 of the 18 areas in which we work. Meaning that almost two million people now live in trachoma-free regions. 

In 2019, with your help, Orbis will expand this success into new regions of Ethiopia, reaching more than3.4 people.

Orbis’ sight-saving work has an enormous impact in the areas we work. The results are staggering. Your generous, commitment not only ensures that people do not go unnecessarily blind, but also that children return to school, their parents can return to work to provide for their families and entire communities are free from the plight of blindness.

On behalf of all those whose lives we have touched, we thank you for making it possible. With your continued support, we will build on these achievements in 2019.

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Terefe is 75 years old and lives in Ethiopia. He is married with three children, one girl and two boys, and he has two grand-daughters, aged four and one. Terefe is a retired soldier who now works as a security guard. As an ex-military man, he is very brave and reluctant to complain, even though he has been struggling with his vision for many years.

Ten years ago he had cataract surgery on his left eye. Unfortunately Terefe then developed a cataract in his right eye, which caused him pain and resulted in very poor vision.

Terefe walks with a stick and as his vision grew worse he began to worry about falling down and injuring himself. When Terefe heard that the Orbis Flying Eye Hospital was going to Ethiopia, he visited the local hospital to enquire about having cataract surgery.

Terefe was thrilled when the Orbis team, along with the local doctors and nurses, selected him for surgery on the Flying Eye Hospital. As a brave man, Terefe was not nervous about the surgery as he had experienced similar surgery before and he had full belief in the Orbis team. 

Following his surgery, Terefe's sight was fully restored. He could clearly see the faces of his loved ones. He no longer worried about falling and he no longer had any pain in his right eye. Terefe thanked the Orbis team and said:

"It gives me great happiness and I feel as if I am born again".

Asked what he would say to others who may be suffering similarly to him, he said:

"May God give them the chance that I have got to have this surgery! May God bless the people from Orbis throughout their life. I am very grateful."

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Organization Information

Orbis Ireland

Location: Dublin,, Dublin - Ireland
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @ORBISIreland
Project Leader:
Aine Dolan
Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland

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