Operation Ethiopia's mission is to provide quality Eyecare, including treatment for and prevention of blindness and eye disease to poor people in Ethiopia.
Additionally, we continue to facilitate humanitarian aid to the Jews in Ethiopia, which was our founding cause.
HOW DID WE GET STARTED?
What makes Operation Ethiopia unique is that it's a humanitarian organization that started from a family volunteer trip to Ethiopia, at the suggestion of our four children when they were 11-16 years old. They say that "the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step"(Lao Tzu) 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 loaded with suitcases of eye medications, eyeglasses, and more, as well as Morris’ new Ethiopian medical license - and we set up our first Mobile Eyecare Clinic in the Jewish compound in Gondar, each kid manning a different station.
During each trip since, together with our kids - and their friends who we've taken as volunteers - we have expanded, refined, and partnered with other organizations, and are grateful to have already helped thousands of Ethiopians get the basics of food and medical care.
In May 2022 we took the exciting and significant step of incorporating, officially creating the non-profit organization, Operation Ethiopia!
WHAT DO WE DO?
We provide primary Eyecare to people living in outer villages in Ethiopia through our Mobile Eyecare clinics. We have a unique system that enables us to “set up shop” in any type of facility (we once examined patients in a grain-storage shack!) by bringing our own basic equipment, medications, and eyeglasses. This enables us to reach people living in remote areas who have no ability or knowledge to get transportation to established medical facilities for treatment.
We run Cataract Campaigns on-site where we do hundreds of sight-restoring surgeries over one week. Untreated cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness in Ethiopia (where 1% of the population is blind) and we are working to change that.
There are only 200 Ophthalmologists in Ethiopia for a population of 115 million, so we started a doctor training program for Ethiopian doctors in Israel, and we also do on sight training at Gondar University Hospital and at Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa.
We now service both the Jewish and the non-Jewish populations in Ethiopia. Our vision is to make quality Eyecare accessible to all in Ethiopia, while creating transformative experience for the volunteers involved in our work.
We remain completely committed to our initial cause of ensuring humanitarian aid to the Jews in Ethiopia, most of whom live in extreme poverty while awaiting permission to immigrate to Israel. For those efforts, including a feeding program for malnourished kids, we partner with the amazing organization Struggle to Save Ethiopian Jewry (SSEJ).
Since incorporating in 2022 we have been developing strategic plans to reach more patients, train more doctors, and create organized volunteer trips.