Creating African Partnerships
African patients contributing so that future patients can see.
It has always been our desire to build up the African community. We never want to be just an American ministry working in Africa. We want to build a partnership with them.
That is why 80% of our full time staff are Africans who live in Togo year round. All of our pastors, medical staff, and agricultural staff are Africans.
We do what we can to build up the economy of Togo. Even when we take supplies to Togo, we check first to see if those supplies can be purchased in Togo instead of the United States.
We have been around the world and have seen countries and cultures that are so accustomed to American charity, that they are no longer able to function on their own. Togo is not yet accustomed to American charity because there are very few western non-profits in Togo.
We do not want to be the ones who create this American dependence.
Therefore, we are constantly setting standards for our ministry to keep this from happening.
***Books such as Toxic Charity, Mountains Beyond Mountains, and When Helping Hurts have influenced the standards we have set. We have also been heavily influenced by the documentary, Poverty, Inc. We highly encourage you to check these resources out if you have any questions about the direction we are moving as a ministry.
In 2018, we have decided to start requesting our patients make some sort of contribution. They can bring a few thousand CFA (equivalant to a few American dollars) or simply bring a handful of produce from their farms. These contributions will never be enough to pay for their surgeries.
The purpose is not to have these contributions pay for their surgeries.
The purpose is for the people of Togo to feel that they are a part of this ministry.
The purpose is to bring them into a partnership with Sight.org.
When they bring a contribution, we tell them they are giving so that future patients can also receive sight restoring surgeries. It is a sort of “pay it forward” mentality.
The people of Togo are not helpless.
They are hardworking, responsible people.
They want to pay for their surgeries.
Many have tried to pay for their surgeries, but that would be the equivalent to several months wages.
Last week, we told the first group of patients that we would like for them to contribute something small on the day of their surgery. One patient brought 4000 CFA ($7.44 in American dollars). This isn’t much but it showed his desire to be part of our ministry.
As we explained the contribution request, patients wanted to go back to their villages and explain it to future patients. We explained to them that they were getting a free eye surgery that normally costs 80,000 CFA ($150 in American dollars). When they heard that, they were even more excited to be able to contribute something towards future surgeries.
We feel that the direction we are moving is a very positive direction for Sight.org and for the country of Togo.
We are excited that the people of Togo have a desire to partner with Sight.org in this way. The people of Togo are a beautiful people. We love their culture, and we want to do very little to change their hardworking, responsible mentality.