St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group (SJEHG) transforms lives by saving sight in the world’s most unique region facing decades of conflict resulting in the poorest people lacking the basic privileges of ordinary life.
We are the oldest and only charitable provider of expert eye care in the Middle East and have clinics in the West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem treating patients regardless of ethnicity, religion or the ability to pay.
Our main hospital in East Jerusalem has been operating for over 137 years. The hospital is the main provider of eye care for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, and sees many of the most complex eye cases from across the oPt, which are referred to us from medical centres across the West Bank and Gaza. As it is the only charitable provider of eye care, the importance of the hospital for the region cannot be overstated.
The Guild (also previously known as the Ladies’ Linen Guild) of SJEHG has been in existence since 1926 and has a distinguished record in the service of the Hospital. Originally set up as a sewing guild for wives of the members of the Order of St John so that they too could contribute to the work of St John, the committee has evolved over the years to become the London-based volunteer fundraising group for the SJEHG.
The Guild exists to raise money for SJEHG by holding fundraising events and other activities, usually in London, aiming to raise £70,000 - £100,000 each calendar year.
Examples of events: Gift of Sight Fair, running for over 35 years, Lecture Series, Drinks receptions in beautiful venues, Bridge afternoons, Tours of historical houses and sights and Classical Concerts during special anniversary years, occasionally attended by the Grand Prior of the Order of St John, the Duke of Gloucester.
The Guild of the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital (SJEHG) has been raising funds to support the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group for 98 years.
For 2021 the Guild has decided to fundraise for the salaries of theatre staff in the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital in Gaza.
For several decades, Gaza has been at the centre of an ongoing and devastating conflict. The political blockades in the region have restricted access to much needed resources, including food and life-saving healthcare.
Approximately 2.5 million tons of debris, caused by the conflict, have led the population to develop serious eye infections.
Inherited eye problems have also increased the population’s risk of developing de-generation, squints, lazy eye and other eye impediments. In many cases these conditions can lead to permanent blindness if they are not treated early on. The St John Eye Hospital Group (SJEHG) is the only free specialist ophthalmic service available to a population of over 1.4 million in Gaza and is committed to treating patients regardless of their ethnicity, religion or ability to pay.
In 1992 the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group opened a Gaza clinic which soon became a lifeline for many Gazans requiring eye care. By April 2016, with the help of many in the international community, the SJEHG opened the Gaza Hospital to meet the growing demand for ophthalmic care. The hospital opened with one fully equipped operating theatre and in November 2019 we opened a second operating theatre. This meant that we could operate 4 days per week, in addition to running the Primary and Secondary care clinic 5 days per week. The 2 operating theatres in Gaza mean fewer patients must make the arduous journey through multiple checkpoints to our main hospital in Jerusalem, and no patient is denied treatment.
Against extremely challenging and difficult circumstances, the SJEHG continues to provide essential eye care to the people of Gaza
Staff with specialist skills in Ophthalmology are scarce in the Palestinian territories. Most of our staff have been with us for decades, and alongside patient care, our highest priority is to secure funding for salaries so they can continue to work for many years to come, and we can retain their skills within our hospital group.
In 2020, 101,974 outpatients were seen by the hospital and 5,707 patients underwent major surgery. And, despite the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19 on the Gazan population, the Gaza Eye Hospital continues to treat and save sight in 2021.
Our staff and their families rely on the generosity of supporters like you to support their livelihoods. The Gaza Hospital employs 40 staff ranging from cleaners, doctors, guards, nurses, to administrators. All of these staff members play a crucial role in keeping our work going and helping us reach patients most in need.
Can you help us to raise £80,400 to fund the salaries of operating theatre staff, so they can continue to perform vital sight saving work in Gaza?
Theatre Nurse in charge: Hanan Hassen Al Zalan Salary: £17,520.00 Ophthalmic Staff Nurse: Myson Mohamed Daban Salary: £10,815.00
Ophthalmic Staff Nurse: Mohammed Ibrahim Al Hawwari Salary: £10,815.00
Ophthalmic Staff Nurse: Huda Hani Tafesh Salary: £9,888.00 Ophthalmic Staff Nurse: Shady Abed Al-Hai Abu Ryalah Salary: £8,394.00 Ophthalmic Staff Nurse: Mostafa Ahmed Rayan Salary: £8,394.00 Ophthalmic Staff Nurse: Motaaz Moh. Al-Hasany Salary: £8,394.00
Cleaner: Nemaan Mhmood Emad Salary: £6,180.00
Total funds needed: £80,400
Hanan has worked at St John’s Eye hospital for 27 years, making her one of the longest serving staff members. Her fondest memory was the opening of the new Gaza hospital in 2016. She said it, “marked a major change in the place in terms of facilities and readiness to provide quality services.”
When Hanan was asked what she enjoys most about her work, she said working with her team who are like a family and seeing the satisfaction of patients and families post treatment.
She describes the hospital’s biggest challenges as, ‘the continued delivery of the service in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the low socio-economic situation.
“We will continue to provide distinguished service to our people and maintain the highest level of service to keep the name of Saint John Group high and distinguished". - Hanan
"Since I lost my vision, I started feeling different from my friends. I felt I am no longer a normal child and stranger from other children of my age.”
Belal is only 9 years old and in July 2019 he lost sight in his left eye. Restrictions on movement in the region forced him and his family to remain inside during the first wave of the pandemic. Belal was among 1.1. million people living with a form of visual impairment in the region.
Lockdown also put Belal and his nine family members in an incredibly difficult financial position, but Belal was able to visit the St John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital in Gaza last year to receive specialist help. A doctor diagnosed the need for vitreoretinal surgery and as his condition was critical, Belal was referred for immediate surgery. Thanks to the hospital, Belal’s operation was successful and his is now able to see again.
Belal described the hospital as his second home, due to the warm patient care he received. He is now truly elated to be able to see his parent, siblings, and friends again.
By making a donation today, you can ensure our operating theatre staff have a livelihood and can continue to perform vital sight saving work in the community; so that children like Belal can see again.
Can you help our staff to keep going?
How you can help
1) Attend one of our virtual talks and event (click here)
2) Sponsor a staff member (email email@example.com)
3) Make a sight-saving donation of any amount (click here)
Guild Chair: Julia Corkey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Deputy Vice Chair: Sarah-Jane Holden (email@example.com)
SJEHG Fundraising Officer: Trishna Datta (Trishna.Datta@stjohneyehospital.org)