Ethiopian Blind Association

By Dr. Darren Weiss, Executive Director, HSF

The immense satisfaction from improving lives of underprivileged people, is always bundled with the hard realization that it’s not enough – your effort is but a drop in the ocean of unmet needs. Like today’s experience. A feasibility visit to a government-sponsored dwelling for the blind in Gondar, Ethiopia. Mud huts, no bathrooms, tough living conditions for people with life stories that are very difficult to hear. I joined a team of young adult volunteers from Project TEN who help the blind Amhari children every day after school with their homework and other activities. I watched as the children’s faces lit up just from the fact that the volunteers care enough to hike all the way to spend time with them. They were very excited to meet a dentist for the first time and to hear that they will be getting their first ever toothbrush and toothpaste. After the mood calmed, a child named Indark held my hand for a long silent moment, and then asked: “Doctor, can you treat eyes too?”. I could barely get the words out: “Indark, I’m sorry, I only know teeth.”

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