Over 11,500 eye exams | Over 2,200 surgeries | 305+ doctors trained in first aid or specialized eyecare | 1000's of eyeglasses distributed
IT STARTED WITH A FAMILY TRIP...
In 2014 our family spent one week volunteering in Ethiopia, with our four kids ages 11-16. We worked at the Mother Theresa orphanage in Addis Ababa and in the Jewish community of Gondar. It was supposed to one-time trip, but what we experienced changed our lives. The level of poverty was unimaginable. Severely malnourished children, no medical care, families living in one-room mud huts without sinks or bathrooms. Our last morning in Gondar, our guide who knew Morris was an eye doctor asked him to check a child’s eye. We returned later to find HUNDREDS of people lined up – all wanting to see “the eye doctor.” Even without equipment, he checked every patient. The trip made such a DEEP impression that after months back home we couldn’t resume our normal lives. So we returned as a family the following summer – loaded with 12 duffels of medical equipment, eye medications and eyeglasses that we purchased ourselves, and set up our first mobile eye-clinic in the Gondar Jewish compound. We treated hundreds. We didn’t stop there. We’ve now directly treated 9,500+ patients in the Jewish and non-Jewish villages, started a doctor training for Ethiopian ophthalmologists in Israel, run cataract campaigns to restore eyesight to patients blinded by cataracts, together with SSEJ started a feeding program for malnourished children in the Jewish community and more. In 2022 Dr. Morris Hartstein received the 2022 Global Impact award from Nefesh B’nefesh and the 2022 Humanitarian of the year award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He’s addressed Israeli Parliament regarding human suffering in Ethiopia, joined two Israeli diplomatic delegations to Ethiopia including with President Rivlin. Elisa eventually closed down her US company, took what for years been a family volunteer effort, and in May 2022 created the non-profit organization Operation Ethiopia. Please read more and support our work!
LEARN WHAT WE ARE DOING IN ETHIOPIA AND SEE HOW YOU CAN HELP
DR. MORRIS HARTSTEIN, MD, FACS
Professor Morris Hartstein MD, FACS, is the Founding Director of Operation Ethiopia. He trained at Harvard University and Tufts and is the Director of Oculoplastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Shamir Medical Center in Zrifin, Israel and a Clinical Associate Professor at Tel Aviv University Medical School. After seeing first hand the extreme poverty and lack of medical care on a family trip to Ethiopia in 2014, he returned over 15 times to volunteer his medical and surgical skills to treat the very poorest patients, those with little or no access to care. He has addressed Knesset (Israeli Parliament) committee meetings regarding humanitarian suffering in Ethiopia, joined Israeli President Reuven Rivlin's first ever Israeli presidential visit to Ethiopia in 2018, and accompanied MK Panina Tamana-Shato to Addis Ababa in 2020. He has personally trained three of the five Oculoplastic surgeons in all of Ethiopia. Prior to moving to Israel in 2004, he was Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Plastic Surgery at Saint Louis University. He has published four textbooks on ophthalmic surgery, given hundreds of lectures, and trained seven fellows. In 2022 he was awarded the Outstanding Humanitarian award by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. In 2022 he was awarded the Sylvan Adams Nefesh B'nefesh Bonei Zion award for Global Impact. He is a husband and father of four, and Operation Ethiopia continues to be a family effort.
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