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Couple looking to provide new sight

PASSIONATE: Henri and Joyce with their family

A LEEDS couple are behind a new charity to help cure blindness in Africa.

After working with a charitable eye project in Gabon, West Africa, Henri Samoutou a senior ophthalmic technician with surgical skills who was born there, recognised the desperate need for eye surgery particularly in the poverty stricken Republic of Congo.

He found a considerable number of people becoming blind because of a lack of resources to correct treatable eye conditions such as cataracts.

Samoutou along with his Hong Kong-born wife, Joyce who is a GP, will take their medical expertise to Congo along with their three young children to live and work on their New Sight centre.

“When Henri spent four days there in April 2010, he was completely overwhelmed by desperate patients, many of whom waited for months, even years, and travelled for days to see him,” said Joyce.

Joyce who is also very passionate about the life-changing surgery that she and her husband will bring to the Congo, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Four out of five people who are blind don’t need to be. Out of those four, for more than 80 percent of them we would be able to sort something out with a simple cataract operation.”

The couple who are planning to make the move to Congo next year have so far raised £35,000 of their £100,000 target to fund the move.

Joyce is planning to handle the centre’s administrative duties and home school the children whilst Henri carries out the medical procedures at the centre.

The move to Congo will mean a drastic change in living conditions compared with those in West Yorkshire.

The family will go from having a continuous electricity supply to surviving on electricity only twice a week. They will also have to live on water coming from rain collection tanks.

However the pair are driven by their desire to transform lives.

“We feel very passionate about it,” Joyce said.

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