Henri Samoutou – Co-Founder

Despite given the surname which means “no-hope” (because ten of his eleven siblings died), Mr. Samoutou, joint-winner of the international Excellence in Ophthalmology Vision Award (2012) with Dr. Samoutou-Wong, gives hope every day by restoring sight. Born in a village in the Gabonese rainforest, against all odds, he was fully funded by American missionaries and studied at Bongolo Nursing School. In 2001, he won a full scholarship from Christian Blind Mission to study at the Training Centre for Ophthalmology for Central Africa in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. There he learnt eye surgery under Dr. Adrian Hopkins MBE, renowned ophthalmologist and director for the Mectizan Donation Program that is responsible for Onchocerciasis being on the verge of eradication. Thereafter, Mr. Samoutou chose to use his surgical skills to serve in non-profit hospitals and Mercy Ship, the world’s largest civilian floating hospital. In 2004, he won a full scholarship for a 2-year Diploma in Biblical studies at Hope City College, UK (now Leadership Academy). In the same year, he married Dr. Samoutou-Wong and together, they started preparing for a life of service in Africa.

In 2006, the Samoutous gave up the security of their jobs and uprooted their lives from the UK to develop a non-profit eye centre in a missionary hospital in the rainforest of Gabon. The eye centre has since become self-sufficient and continues to help around 6000 patients a year. In 2011, they founded New Sight with a vision of “a world where no one is needlessly blind”. The charity was first registered in the UK (2011) and later in Hong Kong (2012). In 2012, together with their three young children, they moved to Impfondo in northern Republic of Congo to pioneer its first non-profit eye centre with surgery, which is now self-sufficient.

At the invitation of the local authorities, the Samoutous established a second eye centre in Congo at Ouesso in 2019, and are working on the construction of an eye hospital to extend help to the whole of Congo and neighbouring countries. New Sight provides full non-profit eye services including consultations, glasses, medical and surgical treatments, as well as screening and community health education in the villages. New Sight empowers the local community by training nurses and administrative staff.  

In 2018, the Samoutous established Project Two Front Teeth, an initiative aimed at inspiring children to activate empathy and creativity to change the world.