Waves of Blessings (December Newsletter)
We cannot believe just how much progress has been made since we last wrote! So many good things have happened and continue to unfold that we have not had time to actually tell you about it!
Here are some highlights of our whirlwind few months:
- New Sight successfully completed free screening and health promotion of the entire Likouala region in Congo! Of their last 3-day mission in the region, which was a synergistic collaboration with the American Leprosy Missions, we are humbled to have helped hundreds of patients, and are thankful for the support of the local government and health authorities, as well as Médecins Sans Frontières team. Henri was very touched by the desperate needs and said, “Even if you do not have tear ducts, you will cry for these people.”
- Rebecca Hong, a school teacher in Hong Kong, chose to give up her summer holidays to teach the Samoutou kids! We are still looking for a long-term school teacher to be based in Congo from September 2018. (www.newsightcongo.com/teacher)
- Our nurses are sufficiently trained and took over the running of the Impfondo eye clinic from the Samoutous. They are doing an incredible job!
- Joyce and Henri were invited to meet the Minister of Health who affirmed the government’s support of the Ouesso Eye Hospital project.
- The Samoutou family temporarily relocated to Hong Kong for a year and are renting a fully furnished flat. They love their new home as it is 5 minutes’ walk from the MTR and from the girls’ school, and Ezra got the last available seat on the school bus! Thank you to everyone who helped them set up their new home.
- Joyce and Henri were honoured to be invited to the 2017 Forbes Philanthropy Summit in New York City. The summit brought together two hundred of the world’s leading philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and leaders for a critical discussion on how to solve today’s most intractable problems. Among the participants were Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway; Matt Damon, Co-Founder, Water.org; Malala Yousafzai, Co-Founder, Malala Fund; Muhammad Yunus, Winner of 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. The stimulating brainstorming sessions were followed by the Forbes 100th birthday party and a performance from the ultra-cool Stevie Wonder.
- Thank you to award-winning musicians Sunny Kang and Argus Quartet for hosting Concert for Cause – New Sight’s very first fundraising event in New York City! We are so humbled by your support and excited by more people joining our cause!
- We gathered our very first donated sight-restoring medical equipment for the future Ouesso Hospital and moved them into free storage in a container. Special thanks to Baptist Hospital who will kindly help provide mechanical maintenance services and calibration before the equipment is shipped during the second half of next year!
- For the first time, New Sight has a full-time team in Hong Kong. Building capacity is one of our four main goals for the Samoutous’ year in Hong Kong and we cannot have asked for a better team! We are delighted to introduce to you our very first Operations Manager Phoebe Chan as well as our very first Chief Executive Edith Ngan Chan. Edith, a Medal of Honour awardee, brings valuable expertise from professional, commercial and not-for-profit sectors, and has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. She is offering her services to New Sight pro-bono, which is an amazing gift to us. Read more about Edith >
- Our volunteers are truly amazing. More than 30 volunteers from across 4 time zones worked round-the-clock to contribute to a 102-page-long foundation proposal!
- Joyce and Henri add Sunday church preaching to their ongoing speaking schedules at schools, organisations such as YMCA, and were keynote speakers at events such as the Li Po Chun United World College 25th anniversary dinner and the Hong Kong Outstanding Students’ Award assessment.
- Construction plans are being finalised. We are thrilled to introduce to you that our project manager Steve Pyle, an experienced engineer who chose to use his retirement to help New Sight on a pro-bono basis!
- Henri has travelled to Congo for surgical mission. Here is a little video of him as he got ready for the airport…
- Fundraising is going well – please help us reach the entire USD1.25 million (HKD10 million) match donation which will end this very month. To give, please go to https://www.newsightcongo.com/donate/
- If we all get together to give and get the entire USD1.25 million matched, then we will be halfway through our fundraising target to cover both construction and operational costs!
As you can see, even though the Samoutous have only been back for just over 4 months, we are well on our way towards our four goals this year:
- Finish fundraising
- Complete construction plans and transition to delivery phase
- Source and pack a container and prepare to open the new Ouesso Hospital
- Build capacity – organise a full-time team as well as volunteers
We are simply blown away by the incredible progress that has been made within such a short time. Your support and the tangible difference that we are able to bring to our patients and families spur us on to continue to work hard so that we can help more patients like Bernadette, whose vision was impaired since she was only 12. She had raised the finances to travel to South Africa where she was diagnosed with glaucoma and cataracts, but she could not afford the surgery. With your help, we were so delighted to be able to help her in Congo to see again!
While we appreciate that we still have a long way to go, we are so thankful for all that we have been able to do together and we are excited to see what more we can do together.