Relief for Human Suffering Foundation (R4HSF) expands its reach to more communities in Africa.
The Foundation initiates a pilot with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, an organization committed to improving the lives of people all over the world through their lifesaving assistance programs.
Working with its main partner in Nigeria, Eye Foundation Community Hospital (EFCH), and with a new exciting collaboration with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the church), an organization committed to helping to improve the lives of people all over the world through their lifesaving assistance programs, the foundation expands his outreach to the birthplace of its founder in Ondo, Nigeria where it plans to carry out a small pilot during the week of June 25, 2023.
As part of this pilot, the foundation will provide free eye screenings, prescription lenses, or cataract surgeries to more than 1,000 impoverished people who are otherwise on the preventable road to blindness.
Vision is a key part of human development given that ~83% of learning in early life occurs through vision. In Nigeria, 7 out of 10 people who are blind beggars have been blind from childhood. The majority have never had an eye examination. Each person who is blind and begs typically has at least a younger person to lead them about. A sacrifice that often deprives the younger person of schooling and widens the circle of poverty.
I am very happy that our organization can finally expand these lifesaving services to the people of my hometown in Ondo, albeit at a relatively small scale. But this is only the beginning. I hope that through continued collaboration with the church and partnership with local organizations like EFCH, we can not only help the people of Ondo but can replicate the effort across other communities throughout the continent of Africa” said Benson Fayehun, Founder & President, R4HSF.
Since its inception in 2021, R4HSF has collaborated with local partners to conduct numerous outreach events that have resulted in over 8,000 people benefiting from routine eye screening, cataract surgeries, or refractive error correction across communities in Nigeria and Cameroon.
By working with local partners who themselves are committed to addressing preventable blindness, the foundation can enable the provision of these services at a significant discount, thereby creating a sustainable approach to reach communities who are otherwise without access to routine eye care.
R4HSF is not only interested in creating a world where a person”s ability to enjoy the gift of sight is not dependent on the location of their birth or the color of their skin. They also seek to connect recipients of their charity to resources that can enable them to become self-reliant. This stems from the recognition of the link between poverty and blindness in developing countries. And that the key to addressing preventable blindness goes beyond free eye care and must include a focus on self-reliance to the extent possible!
“Close to 90% of the ~10M visual impairments in Nigeria are cataract or refractive errors. These are very easily addressable impairments that aren’t being addressed for many because of poverty. And as a result, a significant number of people have continued to go blind from something preventable. That doesn’t sit well with us. And is the reason why we feel that it is not only important to address these impairments. We must, where possible, connect recipients of our charity to resources that can help put them on a path to self-reliance including skill development and education both of which are key. That”s one of the reasons we are very excited about our collaboration with the church and its educational system, BYU-Pathway Worldwide, which provides the blessing of higher education into the lives of men and women everywhere” continued Benson Fayehun
“One of the missions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to care for the poor and needy among the children of God. We are therefore happy to collaborate with R4HSF on this pilot to provide needed eye care for the people of Ondo. We hope that this kind act will empower and help strengthen both the temporal and spiritual capacities of the recipients” said Frederick Akinbo, President, Nigeria Ibadan Mission, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Over the next few years, the foundation hopes to continue this collaborative effort with the church as well as expand its partnership with local government and non-governmental organizations in Africa to continue this important work and increase public awareness of preventable blindness and the link between poverty, blindness, and self-reliance. Instead of the typical once-a-year approach taken by many Western nonprofits operating in developing countries like Nigeria, the foundation emphasizes and prioritizes ongoing community efforts through trusted local partners.