Burkina Faso


Our eye health clinic in Burkina Faso

“The eyes are the lamp of the body.” The first thing you see when you enter our eye health station in Burkina Faso is a quote from the Book of Matthew. And despite its simplicity, it has a powerful meaning, because even though we could survive without them, our eyes are still considered our most important sensory organs. They enable us to navigate the world around us. It is so easy to take our sense of sight for granted. Have you ever thought about what it would be like to go through life engulfed in constant darkness?

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As a famous global family-owned business, we want to share our success with those who are less privileged. That’s why the Silhouette Group has been working with a small group of doctors and medics since 2008 to set up an eye health clinic in Kongoussi in northern Burkina Faso. Our goal is to help the people to help themselves. We want to make a difference by giving local people the know-how and resources they need to be able to eventually operate the clinic in Kongoussi themselves. This private charity project is being run by ophthalmologist Ulrike Nesser and the retired Silhouette master optician Bettina Hochwimmer.

„Both eye experts felt a calling to go and work on the initiative and have poured a huge amount into helping get the clinic up and running, traveling multiple times to work in Burkina Faso."

When they are there, they help train local doctors and staff, share their expertise, and get involved with the day to day running of the clinic. The team also conducts regular vision tests at the local school in Kongoussi.

In addition to providing financial support, we also donate equipment and supplies to the clinic. Once a year, we ship a container to Burkina Faso packed full of medicines, ophthalmologic equipment, glasses, and notebooks for documenting patients’ medical history. The clinic currently performs around 400 surgeries each month and treats 65 patients per day.

And in between all the hard work, there are moments when a patient removes their bandages on the day after their surgery and gradually begins to clearly see the world for the first time. Those moments fill you with joy and encourage you to keep going. Seeing the looks on their faces is always an incredibly emotional experience for everyone. It is a constant reminder that helping each other is the best thing we can do in life.

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