Relief for Human Suffering Foundation (R4HSF) and local partner, St. Thomas Eye Hospital (STEH) provided free eye screening to almost 150 individuals and restored sight to 33, during a one day medical outreach event in Accra, Ghana.
Photo: A cross section of the close to 150 people attended to during the medical outreach event organized by R4HSF and local partner STEH, in Accra on January 17, 2024
The Accra sun beats down on a scene teeming with anticipation. Not the usual frenetic buzz of the bustling city, but a hush punctuated by murmurs of hope and the eager shuffling of feet. On January 17, 2024, in the small community of Mataheko, Accra Ghana, shadows were lifting, not from the sun’s descent, but from the tireless efforts of R4HSF and its partner STEH. R4HSF, a US nonprofit organization with a vision to restore the gift of sight, had descended upon this quiet community not just with medical expertise, but with a beacon of unwavering hope. Their partnership with STEH, extending beyond this one-day event, reaches into many communities outside of Accra, spreading the light of sight restoration one person at a time.
Photo: Frank (left) a recipient of free surgery, being examined by Peter Makafui, STEH nurse manager, in preparation for surgery.
One such ember, ignited on this transformative day, was Frank, a 59-year-old Ghanaian pastor who for 20 years had navigated the world through a veil of darkness before running into the R4HSF team. During this one day event, Frank received his second cataract surgery completing his full sight restoration journey after 20 long years in the dark. When the bandages were finally lifted, tears welled in Frank’s eyes, mirroring the dawn painting the sky, a testament to the transformative power of sight restored. “I was living in darkness, and I didn’t even know it” Pastor Frank shared with a smile brighter than the Accra sun.
Photo: Frank (left) with R4HSF founder Benson Fayehun, the day after surgery, and fully regaining his sight.
“Any day we have a chance to help folks less privileged than ourselves is a great day. But the chance to experience the pure joy that comes from a blindness to sight transformation like Frank’s, is a privilege you can only fully understand through personal experience. To have a chance to do so with 33 different people in one day is likely a once in a lifetime opportunity out of reach of many and for which I am extremely grateful” said Benson Fayehun, founder and president, Relief for Human Suffering Foundation
Photo: A patient being screened by Dr. Mills, Medical Administrator, STEH.
Photo: A number of patients awaiting surgery during the one day event on January 17.
Frank’s story wan’t a solitary ray; it was a chorus echoed by 32 others that benefited from free surgery and received their sights during the one day event. Each surgery, a brushstroke on the canvas of hope, painted with the meticulous skill of volunteering doctors and the unwavering support of other volunteers.
Evans, a 50-year-old trader and father of three from Accra, whose world is slowly regaining its light found himself relying on others for everyday tasks due to bilateral cataracts. His first surgery in December brought back sight to one eye, and on the day of the event, he received the gift of sight in the other! His excitement for this second surgery was palpable, a contrast to the darkness he lived in for so long. “I can now cross the road, cook for my kids, even see their faces clearly again,” Evans shared, his smile reflecting the hope now shining in his eyes.
Photo: Evans, one of 33 lucky recipients of surgery during the one day event in Accra The impact of this day resonated far beyond the 33 surgeries.
It was a ripple of hope that travelled throughout the community, reaching close to 150 individuals who received vital eye screenings, a first step on the path to regaining sight. And across Ghana, the R4HSF-STEH collaboration had already touched hundreds of lives since August 2023, with over 3,500 free eye screening and close to 200 surgeries completed – each restored vision a testament to the power of collective action.
“R4HSF’s arrival has rekindled the very flame that ignited STEH’s mission: equitable access to quality eye care for all, regardless of circumstance. Witnessing countless lives transformed in recent months has been a profound testament to this shared purpose. These stories are but ripples in a vast ocean, yet they carry the profound weight of collective human will, pushing back against the tide of preventable blindness. Each restored vision isn’t just a victory for an individual, it’s a beacon of hope for all waiting patiently in the line for sight.” said Dr Michael Gyasi, Medical Director of STEH.
Yet, the shadows of preventable blindness still linger. Over 150,000 Ghanaians live in a world shrouded in darkness with countless dreams waiting to be reborn.
Photo: The doctors, R4HSF founder, Benson Fayehun (middle in white shirt) and Dr Michael Gyasi, Medical Director for STEH (2nd from right), huddled to celebrate the close of a very gruesome but extremely successful day.
Across Africa, estimated 27,000,000 suffer from moderate or severe visual impairment and over 6,000,000 are blind. Since the founding of R4HSF in 2021 and thanks to generous donors, volunteers and collaboration of strong trusted local partners, they have devoted 100% of public donations to the cause and provided free routine eye screenings, eye surgeries or prescription lenses to more than 15,000 individuals across three countries on the continent.
But there is so much more to do and they cannot do it alone. They need help from good people everywhere to enable a world of opportunity for more people on the avoidable path of blindness through a simple gift of sight. Visit their website to learn more, volunteer your time, or donate generously. Each contribution, however small, fuels the engine of hope, empowers a hand to reach for a brighter future, and illuminates a path where shadows give way to the transformative power of sight. Together, we can each play a role to ensure that stories like Frank’s, Evans’s, and countless others become not tales of darkness overcome, but chapters in a world where blindness is a thing of the past. Join the fight, and witness the dawn, one restored vision at a time. Share this story, spread the light, and help #RestoreVision #ChangeLives with R4HSF.