Dear supporters, I’m happy to start the new year by sharing some good news with you. Recently, I worked with a US Army team to provide adjustable eyeglasses to needy youth. The team executed this project in an area formerly affected by al-Shabaab, a violent extremist organization allied with al-Qaeda that is responsible for numerous high-profile attacks, horrific violence, and a humanitarian crisis in East Africa. This project was especially important as we work to combat extremism, increase regional stability, and connect the local people with their government. We were able to do this thanks to Adlens, who generously provided the glasses to SoA at a greatly reduced price. The US Army team and their local military counterparts conducted the event at an orphanage and boarding school for underprivileged youth. All students received eye exams and more than 40 received new glasses. Children who had struggled all of their lives to see finally had the gift of clear vision. I’m thrilled to tell you this project was fully funded thanks to a gift from one generous donor. Our donors continue to amaze us. As always, thank you for your commitment and support. And happy new year! Best, Chris VanJohnson Project Manager – Africa
Chris is a US Army veteran having served as an Armor officer with a deployment to Baghdad in 2008-09 and then as a Special Operations Civil Affairs Officer with multiple deployments to Nepal in 2011-12.