Operation Ethiopia's core mission is to provide eye care, physician training, and also feeding assistance for malnourished children. Our work is focused mainly in the village of Gondar, in both the Jewish compound and the surrounding (non-Jewish) villages. We also do CPR/First Aid training, and procure and provide PPE to help guard against Covid. You can read about all of our work and programs here.
When possible we partner with other organizations to maximize efficiency and for support. Our current partners include:
The Himalayan Cataract Project who we have a joint cooperation with to train Ethiopian ophthalmologists in both Israel and Ethiopia, and with whom we run cataract campaigns on the ground in Ethiopia.
The Dear Foundation who supports our cataract campaigns and feeding program.
Rescuers Without Borders who cooperate with us to train local youth and Ethiopian physicians in First Aid/CPR, and provide us with First Aid kits for distribution.
Restoring Vision who to date has donated thousands of pairs of eyeglasses for distribution in Ethiopia.
ASOPRS Foundation who provide grant money for us to train Ethiopian ophthalmologists in oculoplastic surgery, in Israel.
SSEJ is our partner for nearly all of our programs, and is the US 501(c)(3) organization through which all of our funds and budget flow. SSEJ is run entirely by volunteers, operates with 0% overhead, which means that your donations go entirely for food and medical care with no administrative overhead. All of your donations through SSEJ are fully tax deductible in the US.
Operation Ethiopia was founded by Dr. Morris Hartstein, MD, FACS. Dr. Hartstein is an oculoplastic and reconstructive surgeon who began providing medical care in Gondar, Ethiopia in 2014. He pays for his own trips and expenses to Ethiopia, and donates his time to see patients and operate on them in Gondar and Addis Ababa.
What makes Operation Ethiopia unique is that it is an all volunteer humanitarian organization that started from a family trip to Ethiopia, at the suggestion of our four children when they were 11-16 years old. They say that "Every journey begins with a single step" and back in August 2014 we could not have imagined where that summer trip would lead.
Our family of six went to Ethiopia in 2014 for one week and ran activities for (hundreds) of kids in the Jewish compound in Gondar, and volunteered at the Mother Theresa orphanage in Addis Ababa. We were shocked by the level of abject poverty we saw first hand - masses of malnourished kids without enough food to eat, and no basic medical care. Unable to leave what we saw behind, we returned again the following year - this time with suitcases of donated eye medications, eyeglasses, and more, as well as my new Ethiopian medical license - and we set up our first mobile eye clinic in the Jewish compound in Gondar, each kid manning a different station. During each trip since, together with our kids we have expanded, refined, and partnered with other organizations, and are grateful to so far have been able to help thousands of Ethiopians get the basics of food and medical care. We invite you to join us in supporting our efforts to feed and provide medical care for the very needy.
"Every journey begins with a single step." ~ Lao Tzu