Lichtblicke für Kinder in Ethipopia

MD 111 - Germany


A German success story for 11 years now has been the project “Lichtblicke für Kinder”, which is carried out together with the Christian Blind Mission e.V. and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Thanks to a cooperation with the RTL Foundation, the German Lions are able to build children's eye clinics, equip them with the necessary equipment and thus improve eye health in other developing countries, primarily in Africa This time the choice of location fell on the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, a harsh landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. Here people have almost the lowest per capita income in the world. Due to great poverty and poor hygienic conditions, the degree of visual disturbances or even blindness is extremely high. Not only social exclusion but also economic consequences lead the sick to a spiral of further poverty with unforeseen consequences.

If you consider the effects of visual impairment and blindness, especially in children, it quickly becomes clear that a vicious circle arises here in two ways. Access to education for sick children is extremely difficult from an early age. Starting with the fact that the parents of affected children are ashamed, they hide the sick from the public, restrict social development in the long term and not only do not allow them to receive the necessary medical information for financial reasons.

It is often forgotten that certain diseases such as cataract and river blindness can for the most part be treated well and even cured. For this reason, the German Lions have decided to make their contribution to humanitarian aid precisely in this area of ophthalmology, especially for children.
For the project in Menelik II Hospital at the University of Addis Ababa, special ophthalmology offers for children are being strengthened.
For this project in Ethiopia, the German Lions and their foundation raised € 715,128.00 in donations last year. In addition, there is an additional € 500,000 from the German state and € 500,000 from the RTL foundation “We Help Children”. A winwin situation for everyone involved.
Measures can already be taken in newborns to prevent the progression of a visual impairment. However, the treatment of the youngest is not without problems and requires a good and intensive training of the medical profession. Small children often have to be operated on under anesthesia, which requires high standards and specialization from the anesthetist.

Despite the high demand for pediatric eye centers, the number of skilled workers is not sufficient to adequately care for the population in Ethiopia.
This is where the German Lions have been working with their projects for years. The investments range from the construction of ophthalmological clinics, additional operating theaters, especially for pediatric treatments, through the training of specialists to the procurement of high-quality equipment and consumables.

Anyone who has ever experienced the joy and the incredulous amazement of patients when a child, but also an adult, has the eye patch removed after an operation, knows what a privilege it is to be able to see. Communicating with others, being able to participate in life again and no longer being excluded means much more than just being able to see again, it means access to society, to education and it means a first step out of poverty. It is these facts that inspire the German Lions to continue enthusiastically on the path they have chosen and to generate donations for "Lichtblicke für Kinder" without ceasing.

Every happy smile says more than words, it is pure emotion.

PDG Barbara Goetz
MD Coordinator District 111 Germany
Source: German Lions Foundation