Meet Habtamu and his twins

Today, we’re introducing you to some of the extraordinary sets of doubles in our Orbis family.

In September 2014, Habtamu—a father of three, including a set of twins—joined the Orbis Ethiopia team as a Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Specialist.

As the first employee hired to lead monitoring and evaluation in Ethiopia, Habtamu was well versed in all things data and analysis. But he was brand new to the eye care field.

Habtamu was offered the opportunity to visit an Orbis partner to see the work first-hand and learn more about eye care. Excited to learn more, Habtamu absorbed all the information and knowledge he needed to be successful in his new role.

Family First

When he returned home from the training, Habtamu started observing the eyes of those around him, especially his family. It wasn’t long before his new skills helped him notice that his three-year-old twins, Dagim and Soliyana, were struggling with their sight.

“So when I observed, I saw misalignment in the eyes of the twins. When they are kids, it is very difficult to notice. But one day I noticed that when they see to the right that both eyes are not seeing at the same time.” —Habtamu

Habtamu and his family

Habtamu’s most important priority is taking care of his family. Once he noticed the irregularities, he and his wife jumped to action. They took the twins to a nearby eye clinic to see Dr. Mulusew, a pediatric eye doctor who also happened to be trained by Orbis.

Dr. Mulusew confirmed what Habtamu had suspected—that Dagim and Soliyana had strabismus, or misalignment of the eyes. During this fateful visit, Habtamu also learned that his own sight needed tending to, as he was diagnosed with myopia, or nearsightedness.

All three—father, son, and daughter—left the doctor’s office with new glasses that day.

“So I feel like I’m not only a project staff, but feel like I’m also one of the Orbis beneficiaries. Not only me, but also my kids.” —Habtamu

Habtamu is grateful that he was able to receive the training that helped him identify the issue when the twins were still very young. The twins’ school does not offer eye exams, so if Habtamu had never taken the position with Orbis, the issue may have gone unnoticed. If not treated early, strabismus can lead to severe vision loss.

Nearly seven years later, Dagim and Soliyana remain under the care of Dr. Mulusew in Ethiopia. Habtamu never misses an appointment. Their eyesight has improved tremendously, and Soliyana even says she wants to be an eye doctor when she grows up!

“My little girl, she says she wants to be an “Ye eyen hakim,” which means “eye doctor” in Ethiopian. She didn’t call it “ophthalmologist,” but I tried to tell her what an ophthalmologist is. Now she’s saying: “I want to be an ophthalmologist!” —Habtamu

Orbis supporters serve twins around the world - donate today.


We love the story of Habtamu’s twins! Thanks to Orbis supporters, Dagim and Soliyana are just one of many sets of doubles we’ve had the pleasure to meet around the world.

In Ethiopia, twin sisters Mirtinesh and Meskerem and their family received a water point from Orbis supporters to help fight blindness in their community. Access to clean water helps prevent blinding trachoma.

Support the Orbis Family today by making a donation

Ethiopia Gamo Gofa 2018 C Martin Kharumwa Wash Ejigayehu F 65Yrs With Twins Mirtinesh N Meskerem 11Yrs03 Web


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Orbis Ethiopia Martin Kharumwa Obito Trachomatous Trichiasis Zadah Health Centre


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