Cataract & Hearing Aid Mission

Treatment of preventable blindness, like cataract and low vision, and deafness is one of the most effective ways to lift people out of poverty, especially for vulnerable communities like refugees living in makeshift environments.

Cataract Missions – Life with Blindness

Cataract accounts for 30%-50% of blindness in most African and Asian countries. Every dollar spent towards eliminating blindness and correcting vision in developing countries returns a four-fold on investment in economic terms. This places eliminating avoidable blindness among the most effective interventions available. Cataract surgeries are some of the most impactful on a person’s quality of life and require no follow up visits to a doctor.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) cataract is the leading cause of blindness and visual impairment worldwide, accounting for nearly 20 million cases with nearly 5 million new cases each year.

Life With Hearing Loss and Deafness

Loss in hearing may result from genetic causes, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, exposure to excessive noise, and aging.

Loss is hearing is defined as the ability to not hear as well as someone with normal hearing: hearting threshold of 25 dB or better in both ears. Hearing loss can affect one or both ears, causing difficulty to hear conversational speech or loud sounds.

Hard of hearing is defined as hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. Individuals who are hard of hearing communicate through spoken language and the use of  hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive devices.

Deafness is profound hearing loss, which implies very little or no hearing in an individual. They often use sign language for communication.

  • 60% of hearing loss is attributable to preventable causes, in children under the age of 15
  • 1.1 billion individuals are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to high noise – high risk for ages between 12–35 years
  • Over one third of people over 65 years of age are affected by disabling hearing loss – greater prevalence in South Asia, Asia Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa
  • The current production of hearing aids meets less than 10% of the worldwide need

UMR Interventions

Since 2016, UMR has been sending medical missions to places like Kenya, Jordan, and Bangladesh to perform cataract surgeries on patients in need. UMR has helped to restore the gift of sight to curable blind cases by providing quality medical care services to some of the most underprivileged including the elderly, disabled, refugees and vulnerable people in the community, many of whom live without any support from their relatives and governments. Under this initiative, in coordination with partner NGOs and Ministries of Health, over 1,000 cataract surgeries have been successfully performed free of cost to date thanks to our generous donors. Our surgeries have been 100% successful with no recurring complications, and cost as little as $100 per eye.

Hearing Aid in Palestine/Jordan

UMR established a partnership with Community Rehabilitation Centre for the Disabled/ Gaza camp (CRCD) – UNRWA, which works to integrate persons with disabilities in their communities and to improve their living conditions. The center helped UMR by offering its local program team and through conducting the need assessment for the project. UMR also partnered with Phonak Jordan, which provided a generous discount on the hearing devices and performed all medical examinations, measurements, and modeling before the devices distribution. It offered 2 years of device maintenance and monitoring in Jordan.

UMR’s Hearing Aid project helps Palestinian refugees in Gaza/Jerash camp and Syrian refugees in random camps in Al-Mafraq who have no health benefits and social security number.

When thousands of people in a community suffer from health issues, it can be nearly impossible for a society to grow and become self-sustainable. At UMR, we believe that in order to improve the quality of life in a community, everyone must have access to primary healthcare. As we continue our mission to help beneficiaries, we will be providing free cataract surgeries and hearing aids to as many people as possible.

Pass the Plate

Pass The Plate

very year Muslims around the world observe the holy month of Ramadan by fasting from sunrise to sunset. Unfortunately for hundreds of thousands of families, they will not get the chance to spend this spiritual time in a warm home with nutritious food to break their fast. UMR has launched “Pass the Plate” campaign to support them.

“The number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million globally last year – the highest number in the UN refugee agency’s almost 70 years of operations.”UN

Refugees and displaced people are the most vulnerable people on the planet, suffering daily without sufficient housing, access to medicine, doctors, food, or clean water. As the crisis worsens, more and more people are depending on humanitarian agencies like UMR to fill the gaps.

Each year during Ramadan, UMR delivers food packages filled with nutritious items such as beans, rice, flour, oil, canned goods, and more to reach people that have absolutely nothing. We have spoken with families begging for help, telling our field staff that without these resources, they will die.

“Me and my children are fasting. What will we eat to break our fast? My children are begging me for food and water!”

This Ramadan, these families desperately need your help. Please #PassThePlate to a child in need!

Where We Are Working


What We Are Providing

We are providing many necessary items to the helpless families. Here are some of them-

Food Baskets

UMR delivers food packages containing items such as rice, flour, sugar, oil, beans, lentils, tomato paste, pasta, bread, and canned goods.

Water & Sanitation

In addition, we will be building water wells in Pakistan, Somalia and Kenya to ensure that some of the poorest communities are able to find clean drinking water, and prevent the spread of diseases.

Orphan Protection

Children are some of the most vulnerable among these already struggling communities. That is why UMR prioritizes the safety and well-being of children and orphans by providing them with healthcare, education, nutrition and a chance at a future.


Each year UMR hosts iftar dinners throughout the month of Ramadan. Last year we were able to serve thousands of people in Yemen and Gaza with warm, nutritious meals.

Click Donate Now to See the different programs that you can donate to:

Medical Shipments

UMR boasts a strong medical gifts-in-kind supply chain. We work with private medical providers to procure medical supplies ranging from disposables such as gloves, bandages, and prescription medications to equipment critical to the success of a healthcare institution such as x-ray and ultrasound machines. This is a critical tool for capacity building of hospitals as it frees up monetary resources to hire new doctors and reduce the cost burden on patients.

UMR has provided medical shipments containing life-saving medicine and supplies to Yemen, Palestine, Somalia, Sudan, Jordan and Lebanon, and continues to send containers to countries in need.

Gaza Emergency Appeal

Update: December 19, 2019

Update: November 15, 2019

Renewed fighting in the Gaza strip has left 34 Palestinians dead and over 111 reported injured, many of whom are women and children (1). As the emergency situation in Gaza continues unfolds, UMR is monitoring the developments and responding to the crisis.

Since fighting began on November 12, the newly enacted ceasefire has been strained as attacks and airstrikes continue. In response, UMR has sent emergency food packs and medical kits at the request of the Palestine Ministry of Health (MoH) in an effort to ease the strain on the humanitarian crisis.



Update: October 13, 2019


Upon the urgent request of the Palestine Ministry of Health, UMR will be sending 5 Interagency Emergency Health Kits (IEHK) to Gaza. These units consist of two different sets of medicines and medical devices: a Basic Unit and a Supplementary Unit. Each of these units contains sufficient materials to temporary equip medical facilities for 10,000 people for 3 months. Each kit has an expiration date of 2 years. All units are packed and shipped in sturdy boxes so upon arrival in Palestine, the contents arrive in perfect condition and are ready to use.

The complete IEHK can help equip several field hospitals or doctors’ posts with medicines, medical disposables and medical equipment. This ensures that medical relief is readily available in the first months after a major disaster.

UMR Joins Forces with Academia to Strengthen Projects in Gaza and Bangladesh

UMR Joins Forces with Academia to Strengthen Projects in Gaza and Bangladesh

UMR has partnered with the Access to Health (ATH) Project at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law to advance the organization’s healthcare projects in Palestine and Bangladesh. ATH is an interdisciplinary health and human rights initiative composed of graduate and faculty across Northwestern’s law, business, medicine and public health programs. The collaboration will provide ATH students with a new experiential learning opportunity working in the humanitarian sphere. Our goal is to utilize academia and research to better inform UMR’s approach to providing better healthcare access to vulnerable populations across the two regions.

In Palestine, UMR has long worked in areas like Gaza to provide basic necessities such as food, water, medical supplies, medications, medical equipment, winter items, fresh meat, children’s backpacks, and more. This time, UMR is searching for longer-term solutions to some of the challenges brought on by the limited access to resources in the Palestinian Territories. One such project will be an assessment on water access, and how UMR can increase consistent access to clean drinking water for families living in Gaza. A collaboration with the ATH team might include the development of a needs assessment, or a landscape review of the practices of other organizations to circumvent restrictive import policies that affect the delivery of international aid into Gaza.

In Bangladesh, UMR is seeking to tackle healthcare access for Rohingya women and girls, due to the fact that they make up more than half of the population of Cox’s Bazar refugee camp. A large portion of these girls and women are in their reproductive age and are in need sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services including pregnancy and delivery care, family planning services, menstrual health, safe abortion, STDs, etc. In spite of the interventions of many national and international organizations, there is a serious lack of clinical management for sexual and reproductive health care for girls and adolescents in the camps. Moreover, this group of Rohingya refugees are reluctant to seek SRH care since their healthcare seeking behavior is highly influenced by the orthodox and conservative religious and cultural values, and the continuous deprivation of services that this community experienced in their own country in Myanmar. Lack of awareness and limited access to SRH cares results sexual violence, child marriage, unintended and unwanted pregnancy, unsafe abortion, higher rates of maternal mortality, etc. Therefore, these problems need a multidimensional approach. UMR’s partnership with ATH will seek to address these issues to make sure that SRH care is not only accessible but to also provide health education and awareness around these issues within the community.

This partnership will provide Northwestern University students who enroll in the course to research, assess and innovate new approaches to these common issues based on feedback provided by UMR, which will ultimately strengthen UMR’s interventions for years to come.

Palestine Medical Crisis

As Clashes Erupted in Gaza: UMR Renews the Call for International Collaboration to Help Palestinians By Nagwa Abdallah

Just close your eyes and try to picture what life is like for a child or a woman after the artillery attacks and airstrikes launched on Gaza over the few days, leaving at least 34 dead and 111 injured, according to BBC. That is not an easy task. Despite all the information, news, and facts disseminated by international humanitarian organizations and media outlets regularly about the escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the reality is much more devastating and shocking than anyone can imagine. It is chaos in the hospitals, which already have a shortage of medical emergency kits, trauma medical supplies, and items necessary for surgeries. Farms, houses, and lands have been destroyed.

That is why the United Mission for Relief and Development (UMR) has always been calling for robust collaboration with international organizations and donors to help ease the Palestinians suffering in Gaza. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the continuous escalation has left 80% of the population dependent on international assistance.

Determined to keep the Palestinians moving forward, UMR renews its call for generous donations to keep the wheels turning, and the doors open for the Palestinians who are losing hope for a better life. Now, NGOs and donors have greater responsibilities than ever. Shouldering such duties is the only and inevitable path for all of us to take to end Palestinians’ misery.

Working on the ground in Gaza and West Bank for years, UMR understands very well the effect of such clashes on the humanitarian situation, which is already being aggravated as a result of the US halting its yearly aid of $360 million to UNRWA. According to UNRWA, there are about 620,000 Gazans who survive on $1.6 per day and cannot cover their basic food needs, and 390,000 more live in absolute poverty.

Therefore, UMR continues its annual Winterization campaign “Share the Warm” to support those who live under the poverty line. UMR will provide families with supplies that vary between a $150 food package to a $550 complete winter package.

The Winterization campaign is part of UMR comprehensive work plan in Palestine, which covers many essential aspects of the humanitarian crisis. For example, in response to the shortage of medicines and the limited capacity of the hospitals in Palestine, UMR has been providing In-Kind medical donation shipments for years as part of its domestic and international Emergency Response Program. The value of such shipments increased from $7,346,899 in 2015 to $43,415,305 in 2018. UMR has been cooperating with the Palestinian Ministry of Health and succeeded in delivering 11 medical containers of supplies to 11 hospitals and 54 medical centers. UMR has always been among the first to be contacted by the Ministry of Health in Palestine whenever there are issues with medicine and medical supplies. Recently, on October 13th, 2019, UMR received an urgent appeal from the Ministry of Health requesting immediate assistance with medical items, particularly emergency health kits.

UMR launched a psychosocial support (PSS) initiative as a mechanism to mitigate trauma among children. In the Wehdat refugee camp in Jordan, UMR established the Wehdat Disability Center to foster independence and self-reliance for people with minor to moderate disabilities. UMR also granted 500 scholarships to Palestinian students in Palestine and Jordan.

Please join UMR efforts to help Palestinians in every way possible.

Nagwa Abdallah
Communications Officer, UMR
(202) 370-6963 x112

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