with potential eye surgery candidates in Ethiopia
Confronted with the unexpected mass of people, Eye from Zion founder Nati Marcus decided he would send no one away if he thought they could be helped. “They told us 70, and when we arrived there were 1,400 waiting for us. We sent 400 away immediately because there was nothing we could do - some even had no eyes. But we knew there were about 1,000 we could help.”
On March 17, a crew led by Prof. Dov Weinberger, head of ophthalmology at Rabin Medical Center, flew over with representatives from the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), which has on-the-ground staff in Ethiopia.
“One thousand is an unbelievable number,” Marcus says. “We worked from morning to night with a local doctor from Ethiopia who helped us in the mobile operating room.”
A mission for a special girl
Supported by MASHAV, Israel's Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Foreign Ministry and volunteer medical personnel, as well as donations, Eye from Zion also enables doctors from around the world to network and share techniques that can advance medical treatment for improving sight in the developing world.
Marcus always hopes that people who benefit from the training and the treatment will go on to become goodwill ambassadors for Israel and the Jewish people.
One of those potential ambassadors is only 10 years old -- a girl named Kavda Imsak who underwent preliminary surgery in Ethiopia to remove a tumor behind her eye. Marcus and the Eye from Zion volunteer physicians insisted she be brought to Israel for further treatment since the tumor had pushed her eye out grotesquely. The JDC financed Kavda’s trip to Tel Hashomer as well as her treatment and hospital stay.
This little girl was flown to Israel for more
complicated eye surgery, free of charge
Marcus insists that no one at Eye from Zion receive any money for their services. “We have zero overhead,” he says. “We are going to the most rural areas with our mobile operating room. We can even carry it to the mountains. It is something very special.”
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