The Problem

Ethiopia has one of the highest rates of blind people per capita of any country in the world.  80% of this blindness is either preventable or treatable. Ethiopians do not have seeing-eye dogs. Instead, you will see small children slowly, quietly, and faithfully leading a blind person through the streets.  These children have no opportunity to receive an education or even play with their friends.  

A $60(USD) cataract surgery, which takes less than ten minutes to preform, can restore vision to a blind person.  However, lack of access to healthcare and extreme poverty make this basic surgery unaffordable to many. 

How We Help

THAF provides the funding and equipment needed to perform high volume cataract surgery and restore vision to those who can not afford medical care. This simple procedure results in the liberation of an indentured child who can then return to school, play with their friends, and live a normal happy life. In addition, the blind person can return to an independent and productive life. This lifts a huge economic burden from the family.  We also treat many other eye diseases as well as provide simple reading glasses for those with poor vision. 

The great tragedy of blindness is that a child is often indentured to years of servitude, leading the blind person day and night.  Such “guide children” cannot play with other children or attend school.  They are robbed of their childhood.

Young girl leading blind man

Young girl leading her blind grandfather

Little boy leading his blind grandmother

Young boy leading his blind mother

Blind boy waiting to be examined

Blind man in village with goiter

Lady with dense cataract waiting for surgery

Dr. James Guzek examining patients

Patient waiting to go in for cataract surgery

Dr. Samuel doing cataract surgery

Man being led by his family from the operating room

One day post cataract surgery

One day post cataract surgery

One day post cataract surgery-waiting for eye-patch removal

One day post cataract surgery-waiting for eye-patch removal

Lady with bilateral eye-lid surgery for trachoma

One day post caracact surgery

Blind man overjoyed to see again

Blind man overjoyed to see again

Key Stats on Blindness in Ethiopia

~1.6% of Ethiopians are blind.

80% of those cases are treatable or preventable.

It only costs $60 to sponsor a cataract surgery.

A single surgery can lift an entire family out of poverty.

How You Can Help

THAF needs continued funding to be able to sponsor cataract surgeries in Ethiopia. These life-changing surgeries only cost $60 each and have a tremendous impact on the lives of each and every patient. 

As with all THAF programs, 100% of your donation will go to helping the poor, not towards overhead.

To date we’ve sponsored over 25,000 cataract surgeries and counting!

Ethiopian Woman Profile

Witness Your Donations in Action

Meet Dr. Samuel Bora, the only ophthalmologist for 3 million people in rural Western Ethiopia in The End of Blindness, an award winning documentary from AJ Martinson and Dr. Larry Thomas. Sponsored by THAF, Dr. Samuel's mission is to end treatable & preventable blindness in his country. 

See the powerful impact your donations have had on the lives of thousands of Ethiopians as you journey with Dr. Samuel from Addis Ababa to the heart of the Ethiopian countryside as he performs up to 60 cataract surgeries a day for the blind poor in desperate need of sight.

Available now on Amazon Prime, iTunes, and on DVD or Blu-ray!
Donors: request a free DVD, Blu-ray, or streaming link by emailing [email protected]
Want to share the film with your organization? Request a free screening kit.

Witness More Incredible Stories

“I’ve completed over 20,000 surgeries, and Bontu’s case is the most satisfying case I’ve ever had.”
    -Dr. Samuel Bora

Update: New Gondar University Team Completes 1,200+ Cataract Surgeries

In October 2022, THAF partnered with a team of ophthalmologists from Gondar University operating in the northern part of Ethiopia. Following Dr. Samuel’s mobile cataract unit approach, they conduct eye camps every three weeks throughout the Gondar region and, to date, have completed over 1,200 cataract surgeries.

THAF is excited that this new outreach will multiply Dr. Samuel’s work in a new underserved area, allowing thousands of people to regain their sight once again.

Update: THAF Completes 20,000 Cataract Surgeries by 2020

As part of the cataract program, THAF set an enormous goal to complete 20,000 cataract surgeries by the year 2020.

Thanks to the hard work of Dr. Samuel and his mobile cataract team, THAF exceeded their goal by nearly 4,000 surgeries.

But the fight isn’t over, and THAF is committed to continuing their work to end treatable and preventable blindness in Ethiopia for the thousands more who are unable to see.

A note on cataract surgery pricing: Due to rampant inflation in Ethiopia, the cost of sponsoring each cataract surgery has risen from $50/eye to $60/eye. We firmly believe that, despite the extra cost, sponsoring high-volume cataract surgery is one of the best investments we can make. Thank you for your continued support of this incredible project.