HelpMercy International Projects Include:
Eye Care in Sierra Leone
HealthCare, Agriculture, and Clean Water in Zambia
Eye Hospital, Sierra Leone: We will build a eye hospital in Sierra Leone that will provide subspecialty care, and outreach to communities across the country.
Ophthalmology Training: Teaching surgeons in Sierra Leone is the best way to cure blindness in the short-term and long-term. The development of a high quality residency program will build the capacity of Sierra Leonians to shape their own future.
Eye Bank: Eye banks preserve corneal tissue for transplant into patients with corneal blindness. The eye bank we will build in Sierra Leone will be the first in all of West Africa and serve as a regional Center for curing corneal blindness. This eye bank will also play a role in pioneering other forms of transplant in West Africa, such as kidney transplant through creating laws for consent and tissue donation.
Sustainability: In Sierra Leone, the training programs will create a growing cadre of young surgeons capable of internally addressing the need for eye care in Sierra Leone. Our model also uses a mix of public philanthropy and private billing to create a system where services to wealthier clients provide the finacial backing for reaching the impoverished. In the same way, our Zambia, program teaches each family how to save seeds from the previous years crops in order to develop a sustainable and nutritious supply of food.
Giving Back: Patients who receive seeds through the nutrition and agriculture program are required to pay back one 50 kg bag of peanuts to the hospital (about 5% of their crop). These peanuts are used in the HelpMercy International peanut butter making machine to provide high protein food to malnourished children. In this way, families that receive aid are able to give back to their own community. The community also participates in building projects by making bricks, digging sand for concrete, and aiding in labor for building.
Feeding Starving Children: Peanut butter made at the hospital from the peanut crop is then used to feed malnourished children in the children's ward. In this way, our recipients are giving back to the community in which they live, not only developing a sustainable source of food for their family, but also developing generosity in the community.
Beyond Sustainability: We work to generate programs that decrease dependence on outside donations by creating local business. In Sierra Leone, the eye hospital will be partially owned by local ophthalmologists and staff and our goal is to operate at a profit so that expansion can be accomplished without the need for further donations. In addition, care for the poor can be paid for through profits from the business. In Zambia, the grain mill, sunflower press, and peanut butter machine generate profit for ongoing projects.